Government has proposed a two-year wage and recruitment freeze in the public sector, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has announced.
Mr Chikwanda, presenting the 2014 National Budget to Parliament yesterday, said the freeze, which would go up to 2015, was meant to create fiscal space for the provision of basic social services and reduce money spent on the public service wage bill.
In the next two years the Government would concentrate on addressing structural anomalies in the remuneration structure.
"In order to provide sufficient fiscal space for the provision of basic social services and investment in public infrastructure, and reduce the proportion of revenues spent on the public service wage bill, I propose a two-year public sector wage freeze," he said.
The public service wage bill was projected at 52.5 per cent in 2014.
Mr Chikwanda said to stop distortions in the public sector payment system, Government had adopted a 10-year integrated competitive total remuneration strategy aimed at harmonising pay for similar positions across the three arms of government.
He said the strategy also entailed a review of public pensions, enhancement to the Public Service Performance Management System and creation of a public service credit union.
Mr Chikwanda said there would be changes to the Public Service Pension Fund in which the retirement age and the basis for calculating pensionable emoluments would be revised.
The minister also said the government had embarked on a programme to strengthen cash management by addressing the challenges associated with large unutilised balances because keeping funds idle denied resources from programmes that required funding.
On job creation, he said Central Statistical Office figures indicated that formal sector employment rose by over 58,000 in the first nine months of 2013.