The government has ordered Gweru City Council to slash workers’ salaries before it can approve the 2015 budget, it has emerged.
By Stephen Chadenga
Council’s budget is yet to be approved by the Local Government ministry five months into the year.
Last week, town clerk Daniel Matawu and other top council officials met with the Local Government ministry’s permanent secretary George Mlilo in Harare over the salaries issue.
Matawu confirmed the meeting with Mlilo, but said he could not divulge details as council was yet to meet over the matter.
But a council official who attended the meeting said Mlilo was clear that the budget would not be approved if salaries were not cut.
“He made it clear that we should come up with figures of slashed salaries by the end of this week,” said the official on condition of anonymity. “We had proposed to cut salaries gradually, starting with scrapping of allowances over a period of three years, but the permanent secretary was not amused as he wanted the slashing of salaries with immediate effect.”
Council’s wage bill currently stands at $888 000 — about 72 % of its monthly income.
Ward 5 councillor Moses Marecha revealed during a media engagement meeting early this year that top managers at the municipality were taking up to $38 000, middle management $350 000 and the rest of the workers $500 000 in salaries.
The local authority unveiled a $31 million budget for 2015 last year in November, an increase from $24 million in 2014 with proposals to increase tariffs by 35 % across the board.