Former Finance Minister and opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Harare East legislator Tendai Biti has described the recent 100 percent civil servant salary increment as ‘cheap populist expenditure’.
Recently, treasury approved a 100 percent remuneration for civil servants from deputy director and below for all sectors with effect from February 1, 2023 for the Security sector and April 1, 2023 for the rest of the civil service.
Posting on Twitter, Biti accused the Government of by passing the Parliament by increasing the ‘unbudgeted salaries’ without consultations.
“The 100% salary increase to public servants will not fool civil servants. For years teachers & doctors have demanded a decent salary pegged in US$ but the regime has refused. Making nominal increases a few months before an election is a tactic often used in tin pot Republics. Citizens will never be fooled by cheap populist expenditure and freebies dished out on eve of an election.
“We make the point that civil servant salaries should be pegged in US$ at their 2014 baseline of at least US$500. Anything short of this is short changing the worker. We also object to unilateral wage increases made without consulting labor unions. Civil servants have a right to collective bargaining and have strong unions that have been fighting their cause for decades. Unilateral imposition of a wage is a disrespectful unfair labor practice. The wage increase was not budgeted for and is therefore being done outside parliament. Continuous abuse of parliament has become DNA of regime,” said Biti.
He warned that the salary increase may lead to a crisis similar to the 2008 hyperinflation.
“The massive unbudgeted payout will be financed by money printing which will drive inflation. The exchange rate has moved to 1:1400 to US. An inflation spike is thus inevitable as Zimbabwe sinks back into another crises of over accumulation characterized by too much money chasing too few goods. We saw this in 2008, 2018 and 2022.
“Zimbabwe can’t continue to be arrested in these permanent bubbles of an overheating economy. The regime s move is populist. Populism is short term and not sustainable. We write about this extensively in our new book “In the Name of the People “which we launch in Harare tomorrow. Zimbabwe does not need populism but a radical disruptive agenda of Radical Economic Transformation,” Biti said.