Government has committed to continue paying civil servants a US$75 allowance up to December. After a National Joint Negotiating Council meeting, Apex Council’s Mrs Cecilia Alexander said:
We had a meeting today with Government representatives who made an undertaking to extend the Covid- 19 forex allowance to December. We also discussed the issue of salary increase and the negotiations are ongoing.
In June government started to give a non-taxable foreign currency allowance to cushion civil servants and pensioners against the rising cost of living which accelerated in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Initially, government committed to pay the allowance to civil servants for 3 successive months – from June to August. Well, since the cost of living is constantly rising, government will continue to pay its workforce the US$75 allowance until the end of the year. It’s not yet clear if government will also keep on paying a US$30 allowance to pensioners till the year ends.
Meanwhile, most civil servants and pensioners haven’t yet received Nostro debit cards to enable them to ‘swipe’ their US dollar allowances in shops. RBZ recently said that it’s “putting pressure” on banks to make the debit cards available to pensioners. Until then, civil servants and pensioners have to bear having to liquidate their US dollar allowances into Zimbabwe dollars to make purchases.