The government has dismissed as unrealistic, requests by striking junior doctors to be paid in United States dollars saying they should not be very ambitious as the economy is under-performing.
This follows a two day industrial action by junior doctors who are demanding salaries in foreign currency and better working conditions among other grievances.
Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo, however, said the industrial action by doctors was illegal and urging them report back to work.
He said the payment of doctors in US dollars was not possible at the moment.
“There is no foreign currency in the country to buy medicines for use in hospitals, and that particular aspect of paying individuals in US dollars is not possible.
“The President has been encouraging the pharmacists to sell drugs in local currency because there is no foreign currency, people cannot get foreign currency.
“If we were to try and say we are going to be paying people in foreign currency it would eat into the allocations for medicines, fuel and other things.
“Arrangements are being made as we access foreign currency,” he said.
The Junior Doctors have threatened not to go back to work unless their grievances are met.
At Harare Central Hospital, it is reported that only nine out of 100 junior doctors turned up for work, while the rest stayed away in solidarity with their striking counterparts.