$3m salary debt threatens new budget

The city of Mutare’s ballooning wage bill, now standing at $3m is likely to hamper its projected $17m budget for 2014, The Zimbabwean has learnt.

Obert Muzawazi
Obert Muzawazi

The city council depends on revenue generated from ratepayers to pay its workers and sustain its operations, but town clerk Obert Muzawazi revealed that they have not yet paid employees’ salaries dating back to August.

The council has kept its huge workforce of around 1,700 workers, having renewed contracts for 300 people in the street sweeping, anti-malaria, roads, refuse collection and parks departments.

“We currently owe them up to $3m. This money is from August, September, October and up to till year-end. We have not yet paid salaries for this month either, but that cannot be constituted as salary arrears,” said Muzawazi.

The council’s human resources manager, Aaron Chemvura, confirmed that they have renewed all contract workers despite facing serious financial challenges and a huge wage backlog. He said it was imperative to maintain its contract workers because the council had many responsibilities to meet to keep the city clean during the rainy season.

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