Zimbabwe speaks on payment of civil service US$75 Covid-19 allowances

By Almot Maqolo

Government on Thursday said it is making a further release of the necessary foreign currency to enable the payment of the US$75 Covid-19 allowances to civil servants as well as the monthly commitments to Pensioners of US$30.

In June this year, the government made a commitment to continuously review and improve the remuneration framework for civil servants owing to economic shocks being currently experienced in the country which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. These funds are being paid directly, in foreign currency, to the Nostro accounts that were opened by all regulated banking institutions for the purposes of receiving these funds.

However, some financial institutions, in connivance with some major retailers, Treasury said, have conspired to limit or prevent beneficiaries of this scheme from accessing the full foreign currency value of their payments.

“We have also received reports that some banks, are telling customers that they have not received Nostro US dollars from Treasury, a situation which has resulted in reputational damage to the government and unnecessary ill feeling amongst civil servants and the public at large,” Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said.

“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, would therefore like to advise the general public and in particular the beneficiaries of the US dollar based monthly Covid-19 allowances, who are civil servants and government pensioners, that government is making payments to their accounts in actual foreign currency.”

Treasury said it is aware that some banks have been unwilling or unable to speedily provide adequate facilities and transactional platforms to enable beneficiaries to access the full foreign currency value of these allowances.

“This behavior runs counter to the spirit and intentions of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe’s, His Excellence, E.D Mnangagwa, when he made the offer to civil servants and pensioners to pay these allowances in foreign currency, which are meant to provide an inflation hedge,” it said.

The finance ministry added that Covid-19 allowances have been put in place as an additional cushion, whilst negotiations for a comprehensive wage structure, which includes significant non-monetary benefits, are continuing.

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