ZANU PF Members of Parliament say their Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) counterparts should call for the removal of sanctions first before telling the Government to improve civil servants’ remuneration.
Upon their return to Parliament, CCC legislators have demanded that the Government improve civil servants’ meagre salaries.
Harare East MP Tendai Biti (CCC) asked the leader of government business in Parliament who is also the minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, what the Government is doing to improve the working conditions of civil servants. Said Biti:
The cost of living is rising exponentially. The cost of basic commodities like cooking oil, bread, milk and rentals is rising. Equally, the consumer basket has now gone up. For a family of six, it is now in excess of ZWL$120 000.
Only yesterday the official exchange rate was 145, but the parallel market rate is now close to 300.
What are you doing to the plight of civil servants, teachers, nurses, doctors, judges, magistrates, bus drivers, Speaker of Parliament, Clerk of Parliament, staff at Parliament, MPs who continue to have their salaries being eroded by the rambunctious inflation and the depreciation of the Zimbabwean dollar?
ZANU PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi interjected Biti’s speech, saying sanctions have contributed to the Government’s failure to pay its workers adequately. Ziyambi said:
The effect of sanctions is to ensure that the people suffer. If you take, for instance, any country and you compare it with Zimbabwe in terms of ease of transacting with the whole world, if you do a business transaction in Zimbabwe, for example, you send money to China and somebody in Zambia also sends money to the same company, the money from Zimbabwe will take a week or two and from the money from Zambia takes two days.
My call to him (Biti) is, if you want us to pay decent salaries, let us have a level playing field whereby we can trade equally with anyone and our economy will be able to pay all our civil servants comparable to anyone in the world.
However, Norton MP, Temba Mliswa (Independent), said the Government should not hide behind the sanctions mantra for its failures. He said:
The President in the Second Republic said that Zimbabwe was open for business. I am sure the aspect of sanctions was factored in.
We talk about a US$12 billion economy in terms of the mining sector, withstanding sanctions.
If we go back on sanctions, I do not think we will make progress at the end of the day.
The truth of the matter is that, notwithstanding sanctions, we have come up with a roadmap that should make sure that there is transformation.
The President at no point has he even spoken about sanctions. He has continued to advocate for transformation through the resources that we have, resource mobilisation.
Civil servants are pushing for the restoration of their pre-October 2018 salaries of US$540 per month.