Salaries and prices – parallel lines that will never meet



SOME weeks back the government for the umpteenth time awarded its employees a salary
increment. But as has become the norm the difference was the same according to the employees’
At one time the finance minister was in the news saying that the problem with Zimbabwean
employers is that they are reluctant to give their employees a pay raise commensurate with the cost
of living.
Our lot at the watering hole thought that ‘basically’, the minister did hit the nail right on the head.
He could not have said it any better!
A few days down the line, government walked the ministers’ talk and subsequently tabled a
seemingly ‘reasonable’ offer to civil servants.
Unfortunately salary increments and prices of commodities –whether basic or not are like parallel
lines, they will never meet. Which always leaves the man in the street wondering.
Maybe there is something the economic fundis are either not doing or not telling us, the general
We reckon that the ongoing price madness wreaking havoc with our lives has arguably so much to
do with survival for those in business. They have to swim or sink.
What we fail to comprehend is how they expect those they employ to survive the price increases
without them [employers] giving them [employees] a pay raise?
Ironically, it is these very employees who one way or the other, have to consume the products these
businesses sell. It is a vicious circle, one might say!
If only they could match their employee’s salaries with the increases of prices on their products-
then everyone would be happy.
The good thing about where we were before is, almost all of us-the employer and the employee
were happy, somehow.
But then it has become a game. A game the man in the street will never win. No matter how big the
pay raise the government gives its employees- business will increase prices two fold if not three.
It sure gets confusing, especially to the man in the street!
The prevalent economic situation means it is only those that have something to sell [service
providers] who are the only ones who can make ends meet in this volatile atmosphere.

Which explains why our streets are now vendors corridors. Everyone has become a seller. All in the
hope of keeping pace with any price increase!
Unfortunately, the majority of us have nothing to sell- meaning we have nothing to raise [price
wise]. The only things we are able to raise are our pants which keep dropping owing to loss of
In comes this animal called politics.
Mr. Vhandaberg reckons politicians are to blame for everything. He cites the civil servants salary
increments ‘saga’ as a vivid example of politics meddling in our lives.
Why is it that each time civil servants get a pay raise the business community responds by increasing
prices of everything as if everyone would have gotten a pay rise?
It boggles the mind how in a nation of 14million plus people- the salaries of maybe 200 000
employees becomes the determining factor in pegging prices.
Zvichiri zvebusiness here izvi?
And these government employees seem to be somehow ignorant of the game they are playing. It
raises a stink! In fact they are too astute to be that ignorant. Anyway, we suppose they know what is
best for them.
Unfortunately, their never-ending haggling with the employer has serious domino effects on the
lives of the person in the street.
So, in the end it comes as no surprise when some people replaces the ‘c’ in the civil with an ‘e’,
reckons Mr. Vhanda.
In another time and different circumstances, we would all be rallying behind the government
employees. For, there was once a time when what their employer gave them was used as a yard
stick by other employers.

Comments are closed.