HARARE – Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on Wednesday refused to confirm whether the government would deliver on election promises made last year for higher wages to its employees in April.
Chinamasa was put on the spot in Parliament during a question-and-answer session after opposition legislators demanded to know if the government would honour its pledge to match salaries to the poverty line of about $543.
“We are not yet in April,” Chinamasa said in a terse response.
Pressed for further clarification, Chinamasa said the government and employee associations would continue to discuss the matter, but was vague on specifics. In earlier negotiations, the government pledged to pay up to three-quarters of the poverty datum line figure by April, meeting the full sum by mid-year.
Zimbabwe already spends three-quarters of its $4,1 billion budget on salaries for the 235 000 State employees, the bulk of whom are teachers.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda at one stage cautioned Chinamasa for disrespecting other parliamentarians after the minister told an opposition legislator that he was wasting his time by asking frivolous questions.
“You duty is to respond to questions,” the Speaker said, after which Chinamasa apologised.
— The Source