One government minister has admitted that the strike has cost the economy while another says he is unable to tell how much government is losing because of the strike.
The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, has stated that his office is not in a position to disclose how much government was losing monetarily as a result of the ongoing public sector strike.
“It’s not an easy answer…there is no figure in monetary terms,” he said.
For two weeks now, Public sector employees have been on protest, following the collapse of salary negotiations between the Union, acting for the employees, and the Directorate of Public Service Management.
While government had offered a conditional 5 percent hike, Unions representing public sector workers had pressed for a 13 percent inflationary salary adjustment and a 2 percent salary increase, thus proposing a total of 16 percent altogether salary increment.
Matambo said that while the economy has been hit by the strike it was still too early to immediately gauge in monetary value how the economy has been affected.
He said that while civil servants are being paid to provide a service, it is disheartening that this service has not been forthcoming as a result of the strike action.
“Although I am unable to give a precise figure on how much government has lost, what I can say is that there has been a disturbing disruption in the delivery of government service,” said Matambo.
It had been hoped that the strike action would force government to launch a second phase of negotiations with the Unions on feeling the pinch of the strike; however, the confrontation and counter accusation between the Union and government have kept both parties away from the negotiations.
In a separate interview with the Sunday Standard this week, the minister of Presidential Affairs, Mokgweetsi Masisi, also could not disclose how much government is losing as a result of the strike.
Masisi could also not state whether government was looking to resume negotiations with the Unions.
“I don’t know the magnitude of the impact, but clearly it has cost the economy,” he said.
Masisi said that he is failing to make a connection from why the Unions were destroying the country’s economy through the strike and yet expecting salary increments from the very same economy.