Civil servants and Government pensioners will continue to get their tax-free US dollar Covid-19 allowances until December.
The allowances, of US$75 a month for civil servants and US$30 a month for retired civil servants, were introduced in June as a temporary measure for three months to last month.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima announced the extension during a virtual Junior Cabinet meeting yesterday when responding to concerns raised by the Junior Cabinet that more should be done to improve the welfare of Government employees.
“There are currently negotiations taking place in the various forums and I am hoping that sooner rather than later the Government side and the workers would agree on a cost of living adjustment.”
The Minister noted that the President had put in a 50 percent increment and the US dollar allowances to help civil servants as interim relief while negotiations on a wage settlement were in progress.
Prof Mavima confirmed that the extension also applied to pensioners in an interview after the meeting.
The allowances were as an interim measure to help civil servants and Government pensioners cope with “transitory economic challenges being currently experienced in the country, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Soon after the introduction of the allowances, the exchange rate stabilised as a result of the foreign currency auctions and prices stabilised soon afterwards. The minister urged civil servants to be realistic with their demands.
“I have met with the members of the APEX Council and I have urged them to be realistic in their demands otherwise we will go back to the instability that was there before,” he added.