STATE universities are set to retrench and cut salaries of their workers as part of rationalisation measures to improve the financial position of the institutions and help reduce the country’s wage bill gobbling 97 percent of the revenue.
The development comes amid reports that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and Science and Technology Development has demanded universities to submit their rationalisation plans.
The Ministry’s Deputy Minister, Dr Godfrey Gandawa, confirmed that universities have submitted their rationalisation plans but they are yet to be approved.
“We asked for universities to submit their rationalisation plans and they have done so. Directors in the ministry are looking into the plans and they will soon update us on what the universities plans are. From the directors the issue will be brought to us for approval,” said Dr Gandawa.
Sunday News has since established that the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), as part of the plan, intends to retrench 189 non-academic staff members or cut their salaries by 30 percent. Insiders said the move was set to cause an uproar among workers’ unions because they were never consulted when the plan was drawn.
“Among the State universities, Nust was the last to submit its rationalisation plan to the ministry and after the call was made by directors in the ministry management met and resolved to send 189 non-academic staff home. Alternatively, the management plans to cut salaries by 30 percent,” said the source who preferred to remain anonymous.
Contacted for comment, Nust deputy director of Marketing and Public Relations Mrs Lindiwe Nyoni could neither confirm nor deny the matter.
She said: “The matter might be true and might not be true. I will first have to liaise with the concerned offices which are the bursar and the human resources.”
Sunday News also understands that Lupane State University has reportedly brought down lecturers’ salaries for their block programmes by 10 percent.
However, LSU director of Marketing and Public Relations Mr Zwelithini Dhlamini said the institution has not reduced the money paid to lecturers for teaching block students.
“We have paid our block lecturers, we are no longer owing them anything and as for the rates there are no reductions, we are still maintaining the same rates. As for Lupane State University we won’t be affected by reduction of staff members, instead we are under-staffed, we still need more lecturers in the institution,” he said.
The move by universities is part of bold measures to reverse an unsustainable financial position which will now see 25 000 civil servants losing their jobs, salaries cut and payments of bonuses suspended for two years.
The Government will also rationalise the number of embassies and consulates, review class travel arrangements of all officials including Ministers, Parliamentarians, Independent Commissions and Authorities and State enterprises officials and a reduction in foreign allowances.
These measures are expected to reduce employment costs to around 60 percent of total revenues by 2019 from the current 97 percent and ultimately redirect revenue towards capital expenditure which will stimulate production. sunday news