​Embattled Zimbabwean finance minister tries to cut costs — by taxing civil servants

A shocking 96.8% of government's money is spent on paying its workers and politicians.

Zimbabwe’s finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has proposed a number of stringent cost-cutting measures, which include cutting government workers, salaries and bonuses for at least two years, a report said on Friday.

According to NewsDay, Chinamasa said that at least 96.8% of government’s money was used for paying its huge number of workers.

Speaking during his mid-term budget review statement on Thursday, Chinamasa said that the government could reduce its budget expenditure to at least manageable proportions if it could cut some of the allowances and salaries that were made to senior government officials, including ministers.

The embattled finance minister also proposed to tax civil servants’ allowances with effect from next month using a progressive tax structure.

“The wage bill remains a major component of high expenditures, with employment costs taking 96.8% of the total budget. The wage bill is at the centre of the fiscal deficits and, hence, overall macroeconomic instability,” Chinamasa was quoted saying.

Government workforce
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Chinamasa also planned to reduce the government’s workforce by at least 25 000 workers in the next two years.

Furthermore, the government would also look into reducing the number of its embassies, and workforce across the globe.

In a similar move last year, Chinamasa was dealt a blow by President Robert Mugabe after announcing that the government would cut the 13th cheque.

Mugabe, at the time, reversed Chinamasa’s decision, saying: “l want to make it clear that the report … which said bonuses that were being withdrawn is not government policy. The cabinet did not approve that at all.” — News 24 

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