Doctors on strike. (Facebook)

Over 3,500 youth officers have been laid off as part of the nation’s shortage of currency amid efforts to streamline the wage bill.

It was explained that the layoffs would save the country a substantial amount while the nation’s economy is limping.

Public Service Commission secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe said the layoffs were in line with the transitional stabilization program as announced by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube in the 2019 national budget last November.

The measures, Ncube said, “will yield annual financial savings to be channeled to critical areas of health and education, as well as infrastructure.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is under pressure to improve the economy which has been in free fall since he won the elections in July 2018. To repair the economy, Mnangagwa and his finance minister have repeatedly said they will not hesitate to implement austerity measures.

The year 2019 opened with growing demands by industry to adopt the US dollar and simultaneously, with protest actions by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to pressure the government to adopt the rand or demonetize the bond notes.

But a bigger drag on the economy may be the compensation package expected by White farmers whose lands were expropriated without compensation during Pres. Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reform. According to a White farmer interviewed by the online African Exponent, appropriate compensation for all the lands expropriated would be $9 billion, while the government is offering $53 million.

Agriculture Minister Perence Shiri said that the government would do everything it can so that the White farmers are “rightfully compensated.”

Zimbabwe’s war veterans who fought Mugabe for promised land redistribution, are not keen on the idea of white farmers being compensated, since many veterans did not get land. Most of the properties went to the political, business and military elite, so to give White farmers compensation would be an insult, they said.

Many of the farms are now unproductive as they fell into the hands of people who have no knowledge and experience with farming.

Elsewhere in Zimbabwe, the union of teachers say they will be striking this week to press for salaries paid in dollars. There are 44,000 members in the union. Government doctors have been on strike for more than a month over the same issue, while pharmacies demand payment in dollars. w/pix of striking doctors