The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity, Ndavaningi Nick Mnagwana has said that the government negotiated in good faith with striking doctors. He added that since the doctors rejected what the government had put on the table, the offer has been rescinded. Said Mangwana:
The Govt has negotiated in good faith, bent backwards and made unprecedented concessions. If the other party negotiated in bad faith and does the dishonourable thing then they should consider the offers rescinded. The government will not be obligated to honour that agreement.
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Responding to a question on the issue of paying civil servants in foreign currency, Mangwana said that the government does not have the capacity to do so.
The government wants a positive relationship with its employees based on trust, honesty & commitment to engagement. In all frankness, it is very, clear that it won’t pay salaries in USD because it just can’t. This is an economic reality & surely blood cannot ooze out of a stone.
The government issued a statement on Monday evening after meeting civil servants representatives, that the increase in the wage bill from $30 million to $300 million over the years has made it impossible for the government to pay salaries in US dollars. The statement reads:
In discussion with workers, today Govt explained that it cannot go back to paying workers in USD as in 2009. This is because the 2009 total wage bill was around $30m per month. Now it’s $300m per month. Monthly exports are around the same figure, making USD payment impossible.