24 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Govt to Act On Obscene Salaries - Prof Moyo

Photo: Nehanda Radio
PSMAS salaries.

Government is taking action on the hefty salaries paid to parastatals' bosses, some of whom are pocketing more than US$200 000 a month when the organisations they head are failing to provide basic services because they are saddled with debts.At the same time, the Government will deal with the country's pricing model where just about everything is pegged at US$1 and above.

This was said by Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo in his address to students attending the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 27 in Harare yesterday.

Prof Moyo said Government was committed to dealing with the rot in the public sector and a pricing model heavily grounded on the old Zimbabwean economy.

His remarks come in the wake of reports that Premier Service Medical Aid Society chief executive Mr Cuthbert Dube was earning a basic salary of US$230 000 monthly, while suspended ZBC boss Mr Happison Muchechetere was taking home US$40 000 every month.

There is widespread speculation that bosses in other parastatals are also earning huge salaries.

A deadline for all parastatals and State-owned enterprises to present their present salary structures to the Office of the President and Cabinet lapsed on Wednesday.

It could not be ascertained at the time of writing if all concerned entities had complied. However, sources indicated that the PSMAS and ZBC revelations were a microcosm of what was prevailing in the economy.

One source said the board and management at one parastatal (name supplied) was belligerent that Government wanted to realign packages approved for them just before last year's harmonised elections after which their line minister was changed and the new person in charge of that brief threw out the "ridiculous" increments.

Yesterday, Prof Moyo said realignment of packages and prices was in line with the implementation of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), which is ushering in a new national economy.

"These false salaries like those false prices cannot be appropriate for a new economy. We cannot say we have a new economy and we have this old corrupt behaviour in terms of prices or corrupt behaviour in terms of salaries.

"So we have to deal with these things, especially where people have awarded themselves these salaries and these salaries are coming either from subscriptions of the public or from fees paid by the public or from tax.

"What is unfortunate in one way and fortunate in another way is that the corrupt salaries are in the public sector. We have false salaries or even corrupt salaries which have serious implications."

Ideologically, Prof Moyo said, Government was clear on what it needed to do and had to grapple with challenges presented by the actions of some individuals in the past.

"We acknowledge these things but beyond acknowledging these things we are committed to dealing with these things and the country absolutely expects us to deal with these things," he said.

Prof Moyo said the country was working on a new economic model that required new politics and a new mindset. He said the new thinking should be seen in policy formulation that led Government in making the right choices.

He said the nation should graduate from the mentality of thinking that politicians are the only policy-makers.

"We do not seem to understand that the reason for educating our young people is not so that they can just have a good life for themselves - is so that they can be the frontline of our policy-making and policies so that we can have knowledge-based policies," he said.

Meanwhile, the deadline for submission of current parastatal packages lapsed on Wednesday. A source said many firms appeared apprehensive about revealing to the Office of the President and Cabinet what management and boards had been paying themselves.

"The process of revising packages is underway. The major problem we have is that many board members do not have professions. So if they don't get money from board activities they are stranded. They are trying to make a living out of board appointments but this is coming to an end," a well-placed source said.

The source said the board and management of one parastatal was unhappy that their new minister disallowed continued payment of packages approved prior to the harmonised elections last year.

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