The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has castigated a savings facility for civil servants recently announced by the government saying it will plunge teachers into indebtedness.
Public Service Commission secretary, Jonathan Wutawunashe last week launched the facility, known as the Government Employees Mutual Savings (GEMS) fund which will enable public sector workers to get loans.
The loans, which will attract an interest of between 10 and 15% per annum, can be used for home improvement, solar electrification, borehole installation, property acquisition, and livestock rearing, et cetera.
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However, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou told NewsDay that the scheme is an elaborate plan by the Government to scam teachers of their paltry salaries. He said:
The government has been silent on monthly contributions from willing teachers at 2,5% of gross salary for three months, after which a member wishing to access loans must submit an application through the Primary and Secondary Education ministry. Above all, the submission of applications is no guarantee of getting a loan.
To make matters worse, the duration of repayment of the loan is not clear, except that the loan would attract an interest of between 10 and 15% per annum depending on how much one would have borrowed.
It is sad that instead of paying teachers a living wage or restoring their purchasing power in parity to pre-October 2018 levels, the government is busy planning to further impoverish teachers through indebtedness.
Zhou warned teachers not to participate in the scheme as long as there is no engagement and transparency.
He also said a previous housing scheme for teachers launched in the 1990s dismally failed and the teachers who had invested in it lost everything.