Budget: 3000 youth officers to face the chop

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Government has terminated contracts to some youth officers to ease pressure on the fiscus

By Tinomutenda Midzi

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has proposed the retirement  of close to 3000 youth officers by the end of the year.

In his 2019 national budget proposal presentation to Parliament on Thursday, Ncube noted that the said youth officers‘ wage bill gobbled $1.15 million with each officer taking home $395 as remuneration.

This had become  a burden to the fiscus and the termination of the officers will see government saving $13,8 million annually.

Ncube is working in cahoots with the Public Service Commision to accelerate the termination process with a deadline of December 31.

“The treasury is working with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure that any outstanding termination process are finalised to facilitate the retirement of the youth service by the end of December 2018,|” announced Ncube .

Two years ago, PSC  recommended the abolishment of positions of youth officers in the Ministry of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, which was then under Patrick Zhuwao arguing that that most of them were gainfully employed somewhere and were therefore double dipping..

Eyebrows were raised again after a 2016 audit by the PSC revealed that there was no single project which these youth officers initiated in their respective areas despite being on the government pay roll.

“During the audit, evidence gathered indicated that youth officers claim ownership of projects initiated and managed by other extension workers at ward level,” the 2016 report by PSC read.

“In rural wards, most youth officers operate in the same ward where there are extension workers from several other ministries,” read part of the  report then.

Ncube’s proposal is therefore among the raft of cost cutting measures that characterised his maiden budget presenttaion.