Zim cushions workers against rising cost of living

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Harare - The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday announced a salary increment for its workers to cushion them from rising cost of living.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza told a press conference that the government had offered a cost of living adjustment of 400 million RTGS dollars to be effected across the board for all members of the public service with effect from April 1.
The increment came after protracted negotiations between the government and its workers resulting, at some point this year, in teachers briefly downing tools.
Nzenza said the government will again review the salary of its workers in June in line with the cost of living.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the increment puts the salary of its lowest paid worker at par with the poverty datum line currently pegged at 600 RTGS dollars.
He said the latest salary increase does not change the ratio of government wage bill to the national budget, as salaries continue to take up 90% of the budget.
He, however, said the government would continue to guard against having more funds going towards civil servants salaries so that more money is channelled towards capital expenditure.
Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Vincent Hungwe, said the government would continue to work towards the provision of non-monetary incentives to its workers in order to improve the working conditions of its workers continuously.
He also said the government was working on clearing medical insurance and social security debts for its workers.
Zimbabwe has experienced an increase in the prices of most basic commodities in recent weeks, with businesses citing the falling exchange rate of the local currency to the US dollar on the inter-bank market.
Since the introduction of the inter-bank foreign exchange market on February 22, the local currency had remained steady at 2.50 to the US dollar until last week when it plunged to 3 RTGS dollars to the greenback, its biggest fall since the introduction of the inter-bank market.
Parallel market rates are hovering around 4.2 RTGS dollars to the US dollar. - Nampa/Xinhua

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