Chinamasa clears air on civil service audit

Minister Chinamasa

Minister Chinamasa

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government has dismissed as ill-informed those claiming it is hiding the report and recommendations of a payroll and skills audit conducted by Ernst and Young of India during the tenure of the inclusive Government.

Finance and Economic Development, Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Monday squabbles that rocked the inclusive Government between Zanu-PF and MDC-T made it impossible for the audit to be completed and implemented.

He was responding to questions from journalists when he announced the freeze on civil servants’ bonuses; on why Government had embarked on another civil service audit when it had neither made public, nor implemented recommendations that came from the previous one.

Ernst and Young (India) were contracted to carry out the audit on behalf of the Public Service ministry in 2009.

“That audit was not completed because of the infighting in the inclusive Government.”

“It never produced the results that you now mention. It was not completed because of the political infighting then, which is why we have restarted that exercise.”

Government instituted another audit spearheaded by Minister Chinamasa and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira.

“That has started with respect to the Ministry of Education, which is the biggest employer,” Minister Chinamasa said.

“We will see what it will throw up and whatever it throws up we will take decisions on it. I do not want to speculate on what is going to come out of those audits. We wait until the headcount is done and we take decisions that are necessary to bring the economy back on track. You might be pessimistic, but as the year progresses you will see results.”

The audit made unsubstantiated claims about the number of State employees on Government’s payroll, saying there were 75 000 ghost workers, an assertion disputed by the then Public Service Commission.

The report allegedly ignored Cabinet’s terms of reference and limited itself to checking “non-compliance to regulations in relation to police clearance, medical clearance, appointment forms and appointment letters”.

Observers said the attempt to create a huge “ghost” workforce was designed to make State workers think that they were being poorly paid because of corruption within the civil service system.

They said this was to draw attention away from the fact that “certain politicians in the MDC-T had promised workers more money, but were backtracking”.

Minister Chinamasa said Government had struck a good understanding with the business community as it worked out on modalities to bring the economy back on track.

“Their cost structure is however wrong; completely out of line,” he said.

“We have been saying to the private firms, if you want to survive, please adjust your cost structure. It’s a combination of two factors, the wages and the cost which affects the cost of a product.”