The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has denied it told the Swaziland Government it had to sack people to get the kingdom out of its economic mess.
The IMF said the decision to retrench7,000 civil servants was taken by the government, not by the IMF.
The IMF also told Barnabas Dlamini, the Swaziland Prime Minister, he and other top earners should take pay cuts rather that sack workers.
Joannes Mongardini, the leader of the IMF delegation to Swaziland, said ‘We have advised that it’s better to reduce salaries than to cut employment. The large cuts should come from the top.’
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported that top government officials include the positions of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, Members of Parliament and Principal Secretaries.
The Times reported that the Swazi Government had said it was looking at cutting its workforce by 7 000 through the implementation of the Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap (FAR), a move that was believed to be a recommendation from the IMF.
This was disputed by Mongardini, who said the IMF had not given such advice but this was a government decision.
‘Government proposed the 7 000 job cuts, not us. Government came to us with the FAR and we said we were willing to help. This is a home-grown solution,’ Mongardini told journalists.
The Times reported him saying employment was an important element to people’s livelihood and the IMF would not advocate for that to be taken away.
Mongardini said it was up to government to either take the advice or reject it.
‘Don’t underestimate how sick the country is. In a few months time the country may not be able to pay wages. That would be disastrous. It is for the good of the country that we advise the way we do,’ he said.