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Ministers get hefty salary increases

Ministers started earning an average of US$2 300 in January before deductions and take home about US$2 000.

For the first two years of the unity government, ministers were paid an average of US$600.

The increase would come as a shock to the majority of the poorly-paid civil servants who are taking home less than US$200. Since last year their calls for a salary review have been rejected by the government.

Civil servants are demanding a minimum salary of US$502 per month and had expected this to show on their January 2011 payslips.

Efforts to establish whether President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had also got an increment were fruitless.

MPs who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were now netting an average of US$940 up from US$400.

Deputy Ministers saw their salaries jumping to US$1 600 up from an average of US$400.

According to a payslip seen by The Standard, ministers and their deputies are given a US$264 allowance for their domestic workers.

“It’s true we got an increase in January with an additional allowance of almost US$300 for our domestic workers coming last month,” a deputy minister who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
“MPs are now getting around US$940 as of January this year.”

Efforts to get comment from Finance minister, Tendai Biti were fruitless as he was said to be out of the country yesterday.

Public Service minister Eli-phas Mukonoweshuro on Friday said he did not deal with the issues of salaries of ministers, soldiers and the police.

Public Service Commission chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa professed ignorance when asked about the increment.

Meanwhile, Cabinet on Tuesday agreed that civil servants must get a salary review and provide loans for them to buy houses and cars by June.

According to a letter obtained by The Standard addressed to Biti by Mukonoweshuro dated March 7, Nzuwa had been instructed to “consult treasury as usual on technical details.”

Mukonoweshuro refused to comment on the letter saying it was confidential while Nzuwa said he had not seen it although it was copied to him.

In January Mugabe precipitated a political storm when he announced while in Ethiopia that civil servants would get a huge pay rise after Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu told him that a recent diamond action had raked in US$250 million.

Biti said the money from the diamond auction had not reached government coffers and has since called for an audit into diamond sales amid fierce resistance from Zanu PF. Mugabe says civil servants are paid less than his farm workers who get US$300 a month.

Now the civil servants are paid even less than ministers and deputy ministers’ domestic workers.

MDC-T blames the poor remuneration of civil servants on the existence of ghost workers who were put on government payroll by Zanu PF to aid its election campaign.

A payroll and skills audit carried out by Ernst and Young (India) on behalf of the Ministry of Public Service showed that government has been splashing money on 75 000 ghost workers every month.

Government has 188 019 workers and critics say if the ghost workers were removed from the payroll, civil servants would be paid decent salaries from the current budget.


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