28 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Treasury Yet to Release Examiners Fees

GOVERNMENT has not released a US$1,5 million Grade Seven Grant to the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council, resulting in its failure to pay thousands of examiners who marked last year's public examinations.

Zimsec does not charge pupils fees for Grade Seven examinations. Government meets the costs.

However, Treasury did not release funds, forcing Zimsec to divert "reserved money" for the examinations to take place.

Financial constraints within the examination body have seen it failing to pay Grade Seven, Ordinary and Advanced Level markers who are ordinarily supposed to be fully paid seven days after the end of marking.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart on Friday said he had written to Finance Minister Tendai Biti over the issue on Thursday.

"Any cost regarding the Grade Seven examinations is the responsibility of Government. Cabinet resolved that because of cash flow problems affecting Government, Zimsec should draw down on O and A-Level examination fees to fund the writing of the Grade Seven (examinations).

It was agreed that Treasury would then reimburse the money but nothing has been released and this has in turn created cash flow problems at Zimsec. Zimsec anticipated that the money would come on time but that was not to be," he said.

Minister Coltart added: "I have written to Minister Biti and it is our hope that the money will be released soon to settle the arrears."

Zimsec director Mr Esau Nhandara said despite the cash flow problems, the markers would receive part of their payment this week, with Ordinary Level markers getting 45 percent, while A-Level and Grade Seven examiners would get 40 percent of their dues. Mr Nhandara said outstanding marking fees would be paid when Treasury released the US$1,5 million.

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