The ruling party, Zanu PF, has made a resolution to pay government workers a salary that is above the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) currently pegged at US$540. The news was received with so much excitement. The resolution is a pointer that Zanu PF is sincere on its election promises, thus the move must be highly praised.
SundayView by Tafara Shumba
However, more should be done to these dedicated civil servants who suffered stoically for the past five years.
Some people, as usual, are still pessimistic about the promise. Zanu PF, President Mugabe in particular does not make promises in vain. That promise will definitely be fulfilled.
This is not to say the government has a lot of money. It’s a sacrifice coming from a leadership that is committed to improving the welfare of its workers. The improvement of civil servants’ welfare is uppermost at the government’s priority list.
With the current economic downturn, the government can spare itself from pressure of increasing civil servants by exploring alternative means of rewarding them.
Even if the civil servants are to be paid PDL linked salaries, it will be generally spent on rentals, bills, school fees and other expenses. They will be left with no extra money to save. The promised salary will not be enough to completely take them out of their current socio-economic quagmire.
With that salary, owning a house will forever remain a pipe dream. They will never be able to claim a space in the fast lane. With the unstable economy currently obtaining in the country, very soon the civil servants will demand another PDL linked salary.
The government should therefore consider empowering the civil servants through rewarding them with essential non-monetary incentives. While civil servants need money for the expenses of everyday life, the benefits of non-monetary incentives are far greater. Non financial rewards have more substantial impact on employee satisfaction and motivation. It’s even beneficial for government to offer what its employees desire than to perennially chase up the PDL. Even the current regime of the civil servants rarely views a salary that does not buy a residential stand, as the best motivation.
The government should strike a balance between monetary and non-monetary incentives, in a way that satisfy the diverse needs and interests of the civil servants.
It will go a long way if these non-monetary incentives are tailored to the needs of the civil servants rather than using one-size-fits-all approach.
While shelter is one of the basic human needs, it’s surprising that two thirds of the civil servants have no roofs above their heads. Most of them are lodgers who channel a greater chunk of their current salaries to rentals. It’s not surprising that the civil servants constitute the greatest number of owners of the illegal structures that are being threatened with demolition. It’s pathetic that the civil service makes up the greatest constituent of the 500 000 residents on Harare’s housing waiting list.
It’s shocking that government workers are being fleeced of their hard earned cash by bogus land developers when the government has vast land under its control in the peripherals of most of the towns and cities.
The illegal settlements in which civil servants are found in are symptoms a critical shortage of housing. It’s unfortunate that these innocent servants end up being at the receiving end when the Mutodis of this country get off scot- free.
The government should avail state land in peri-urban to civil servants to ease the critical housing shortage. The civil servants could then use the PDL linked salary to service the stands and construct their houses.