Friday, 24 December 2021


Civil servants and their families are in line for some festive cheer after the Government forked out millions of United States dollars to pay their annual bonuses.

The civil servants, who make up the bulk of the country’s workforce, received cash bonuses ranging between US$200 and US$700 this year after President Mnangagwa directed Treasury to pay out the 13th cheque in hard currency.

With prices of most goods and services being pegged against the US dollar, retailers and service providers have been making the situation worse by constantly hiking prices.

But following Government’s intervention, long winding queues have characterised most banking halls for the past fortnight as civil servants withdrew their well-deserved dues.

Most supermarkets and clothing shops have also been a hive of activity as the handsomely rewarded Government workforce has been shopping for the holiday, while some have already started their back-to-school bargain hunts.

Those who spoke to The Manica Post said the decision to pay the bonuses in foreign currency helped them to cover a lot of their expenses, while some said they will save as much as possible for next term’s school fees as schools will be opening early January.

While those who are fashion conscious took the time to spruce up their wardrobes, those who love the wise waters had a few dollars to spare for their favourite brands, with traffic at the watering holes slightly improving.

Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union president, Mr Martin Chaburumunda said civil servants will have a memorable Christmas.

‘‘As civil servants, we really appreciate the US dollar bonus. Our families will have enough goodies for the festive season.

‘‘However, some workers got US$200 and we could do with more money. Government should also monitor prices of basic commodities as some unscrupulous business people are increasing their US dollar prices,’’ he said.

A Mutare teacher, Mr Isheunesu Sithole, thanked the Government for delivering on its promise.

He said the Government has done what many private companies and parastatals have failed to do.

“The message was clear from the social media messages we were seeing throughout the year. There was a clear attempt to discredit Government by some detractors who thought Treasury would not be able to bring such a Christmas cheer to its workers.

‘They were left with egg on their faces when Government managed to do what most private companies have been failing to do. We are really thankful for that and we sincerely hope that going forward, more incentives for civil servants will be availed,’’ he said.

A nurse at a Government hospital who declined to be named citing protocol said Government efforts in taking care of its workforce’s needs is an indication that the nation’s economic policies are bearing fruit.

“Government is in the process of resuscitating the economy and the bonus shows that things are improving. We really hope this will transcend into more incentives for Government workers.”

Mrs Blessing Sakupwanya, a teacher in Mutasa, said she is grateful that she didn’t have to go to the black market to buy foreign currency for her rentals and groceries.

‘‘It is always a hustle whenever l get my salary as l have to hunt for lower exchange rates on the black market so that l can buy some groceries from the cheaper tuckshops. Thanks to the Government, I got my bonus in cash and managed to purchase some groceries and other goodies,” she said.

Mr Tendai Chiroodza, a teacher in Chigodora said: ‘‘We call upon the Government to continue with this gesture in future. It is going to be a better festive season for us after easily accessing the forex from our banks.

“Most goods are being sold in US dollars, especially in downtown shops. We are happy that the bonus enabled us to make meaningful purchases and even make some savings for use next year. It is promising to be an exciting Christmas.’’

Another civil servant, Mr Kudzi Nyarota said his family will have a holiday to remember.

“I will be taking my family to Nyanga for the holidays, something I had thought would be impossible this year. We are locals, but cannot afford to visit some of the places of interest in the Eastern Highlands. After receiving this bonus l am over the moon and will contribute in my small way towards promoting domestic tourism.

‘I hope the weather will not disappoint us because we are geared for a festive season of a lifetime. We have closed 2021 on a very good note, thanks to Government’s sincerity,’’ said Mr Nyarota. Herald


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