THERE is no salary freeze for civil servants because Cabinet does not have such a policy, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday.
His statement in Parliament contradicts what MDC-T secretary-general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week.
The PM said Government was, instead, committed to improving salaries of civil servants.
He was responding to a question from Masvingo Central legislator Mr Jeffryson Chitando (MDC-T) who sought to know Government's policy on the salary freeze.
"I do not know whether the Government has adopted the policy of wage (freeze). There is no such policy.
"But let me say that Government is committed to upgrade salaries of civil servants and other Government departments."
The PM's statement comes at a time when civil servants' unions have warned Minister Biti against freezing their salaries as he will be deliberately inviting their wrath.
Minister Biti reportedly told a special Cabinet meeting last Thursday that civil servants' salaries and recruitment will be frozen until the economy improves.
The special session looked at discrepancies between Minister Biti's 2012 national budget projections and actual outturns.
PM Tsvangirai said Minister Biti could not make unilateral decisions on policy matters.
He said if such decisions were to be adopted, it would be a collective decision.
PM Tsvangirai said Treasury was there to administer Government funds.
"The issue is if we continue to have an economy which is not performing, we face a fiscal squeeze because the Minister of Finance will always say there is no money.
"It is malicious to try and blame the Finance Minister alone for those actions. An individual minister cannot make a decision to increase or do otherwise on salaries. It is a collective Cabinet position.
"It is not Tendai Biti's money, it is Government money and that money is distributed according to budget and Government decisions. In this case, there is no policy position regarding salaries or any increase or otherwise pertaining to civil servants," PM Tsvangirai said.
Meanwhile, Magwegwe MP, Mr Felix Magalela (MDC-T) yesterday gave notice to introduce a motion today calling upon Government and the private sector to pay their
workers salaries that are above the poverty datum line.
Pelandaba-Mpopoma legislator Mr Samuel Khumalo asked PM Tsvangirai the status of diamond revenue to Treasury.
He asked if Treasury was receiving money from diamond sales.
PM Tsvangirai said the issue of diamond revenue was of concern to Cabinet because less than US$25 million had been receipted.
He said the performance of diamonds had been disappointing because they fell far short of budgetary estimates.
PM Tsvangirai said there was need to assess whether diamond miners were selling the diamonds at all.
Kambuzuma MP, Mr Willias Madzimure (MDC-T) asked if it was not prudent for Government to cancel all diamond deals it entered with miners at Chiadzwa and restart negotiations.
PM Tsvangirai said there was nothing wrong with the miners that warranted cancellation of licences.
What is needed, the PM said, was accountability to ensure all revenue is directed to the consolidated revenue fund.
PM Tsvangirai said Government was committed to making sure that all Zimbabweans have food.
Government, he said, was going to import 500 000 tonnes to alleviate hunger in areas affected by drought.
He said the main challenge was the road network that resulted in transporters charging more because of the poor state of the roads.
Redcliff MP, Cde Isheunesu Muza (Zanu-PF) asked the PM if Government had plans in place to assist cotton farmers.
"The problem started when we liberalised the industry. So you can't liberalise and go back to control the price. That is the predicament we are facing," PM Tsvangirai said.
He said there was need for subsidies to ensure farmers are not affected by price fluctuations.
Even if Government was to set the price, PM Tsvangirai said, it could not enforce the price on the merchants.