Harare – Zimbabwean authorities have reportedly lowered the retirement age for army officers in a bid to reduce the government's wage bill.
According to New Zimbabwe, the new retirement age for army officers would be 50 years old, ten years less than the current retirement age of 60 years old.
However, Zimbabwe National Army officers could, at the request of the defence minister, serve until the age of 55.
"A permanent service officer shall, whatever the length of his or her pensionable service, retire on attaining the age of 50 years. If the minister (of defence), on recommendation of the commander, considers that it is desirable in the public interest, he or she may allow that officer to continue for a period of five years until she attains the age of 55," part of the amendment reads, according to Financial Gazette.
The development comes as President Robert Mugabe's regime is trying to curb the high government wage bill that is reportedly eating up a huge chunk of government's revenue.
According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the move has long been coming after Zimbabwean authorities agreed to lay-off thousands of civil servants to reduce the wage bill from 83% to about 40% of state annual expenditure.
"...There are rumours that they want to force everyone aged 55 years and above to retire," a senior official was quoted as saying at the time.
Reports indicate that the development forms part of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) intervention in helping the southern African country stabilise its economy so it can access loans from other international credit providers.
Zimbabwe reportedly owes various credit providers a combined amount of at least $10bn, and has thus been unable to get credit which could help boost the country's struggling economy.
- News 24