By Alexander NKOSI
My President, a 15% reduction is salaries won’t do anything. If it is significant then let’s reverse the hike in fuel prices and electricity tariffs so that the money raised through salary cuts goes to paying for fuel and electricity, otherwise it is a cosmetic move. I would propose the following:
1. Ensure there is no corruption because we lose a lot of resources through corruption as documented in auditor general’s reports compared to the 15% salary reduction. We need improved management of natural resources.
2. Cut down on local and foreign trips for the President, his cabinet and all civil servants. The amount spent on one trip could actually be way move than what is saved from 15% salary cuts for 30 people. My President you have been mentioning cuts in trips but we see you travel with ministers and senior government officials almost every week visiting provinces. So most of the pronouncements remain on paper.
3. Let’s cut the actual size of cabinet, 40 ministers is too much. Bring it down to 20 and reduce the number of permanent secretaries and their deputies. We created these problems.
4. Merge and close some embassies. Retire some people and reallocate members of staff where necessary. We have been sending so many people into foreign service at a time the economy has been struggling. There is clear lack of coordination between the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs.
5. After cutting down the size of cabinet and number of permanent secretaries, reduce their salaries by 50% and do away with most of the benefits.
6. Let’s invest in expanding exports. ZNS, ZCS, NCZ, IDC…..have too much potential. If we do things the right way and put competent people to manage serious projects under these institutions, we shall soon be fine. Let’s set priorities right and take serious steps to implement them. We need policy consistency and improved overall economic management.
In conclusion, our challenge is poor economic management. The first step is to accept we have not done well and then move in with solutions. The longer we take to implement the much needed solutions the worse things get. The excuses and propaganda are not working. All indicators are showing that 2020 will be as bad as 2019 if not worse. There are no convincing measures put in place. We need solutions and nothing else.