Zimbabwe’s government ordered a freeze on hiring of state workers as it struggles to meet a wage bill that accounts for more than 80 percent of its revenue, a finance ministry document shows.
The government this year had to delay payments to workers ranging from teachers to soldiers as revenue plunged and imports rose. Since abandoning its own currency in 2009, Zimbabwe now mainly uses the U.S. dollar. That’s meant manufacturers from neighboring countries such as South Africa have been able to undercut their Zimbabwean competitors as the national currencies have weakened. The resulting dollar shortage and late salary payments sparked national protests last month.
“The Public Service Commission has frozen the filling of all vacant critical and non-critical entry and promotional posts with immediate effect,” according to the notice signed by the PSC Secretary Pretty Sunguro and obtained by Bloomberg. Promotions have also been frozen.
Paddy Zhanda, Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Harare, that his ministry will be cutting jobs in a “rationalization exercise.” He declined to say how many jobs would be shed.