Government will this July 2022 commence recoveries of money from public service workers who benefited from the debt swap scheme.
Zambia Union of Nurses (ZUNO) president, Tisa Chiponda, who also represented all the 16 public sector unions, said the unions and government have signed a new addendum which has seen the cancellation of the debt swap scheme as it was unsustainable.
Ms. Chiponda said this in Kabompo today when she addressed civil servants at a meeting organised by sector unions to give an update on the debt swap cancellation and the way forward.
“Government will begin recovering funds from officers that benefited from the debt swap scheme starting July, 2022,” she said.
Ms Chiponda said that the recoveries will be done through pay slip deductions in a space of 12 months but that government will however, not affect the deductions from officers it owes through unpaid emoluments.
She advised public service workers to find time to know exactly how much government owes them so as to update and maintain an accurate data base through human resource officers and accountants.
“As workers let us know exactly how much is owed to us so that we can know and have an updated data base of those government owes,” Ms Chiponda said.
Speaking at the same event, United Teachers Union of Zambia general secretary, Temo Ngonga said that public service workers currently owe a total of K27 billion to banks and financial institutions.
Mr. Ngonga said that government however, plans to work with the public service micro finance company by financing it once funds are available so as to allow them offer affordable loans to public service workers.
“The unions initiated the debt swap scheme to help highly indebted employees who now owe a total of about K27 billion.
“However, the scheme was unsustainable as government needed to borrow K5,700,000,000 monthly to sustain it,” he said.
And in response to queries as to when government will clear the outstanding emoluments owed to the public service workers through unpaid allowances, Mr Ngonga said that some funds had been released towards the same but the process is slow as it is still in the initial phase of collecting data for those being owed.
He urged the public service workers to be patient as the employer gradually pays off all outstanding allowances owed to the workers.
“We as unions will continue to engage government all we can ask is for patience as some funds has already been released and will be paid out soon after the collection of data,” Mr. Ngonga said.
Meanwhile, Kabompo district commissioner, Hubert Chinyanga thanked the visiting delegates for the message and urged them to deliver the concerns to respectful unions and government.
Mr. Chinyanga appealed to employees to remain patient as government is working hard to try and recover the economy and improve the conditions of service of public service workers.