The Zimbabwean government said Friday it has no capacity to pay its workers salaries in U.S. dollars as demanded by striking junior doctors at public hospitals.
“Government is currently not able to pay salaries in United Sates dollars. Priority is being given to the availability of such items as medicines, fuel, and other consumables,” the Health Services Board said in a statement.
The Board said the strike by the doctors which started on Dec. 1 was illegal as the doctors had not followed due process as less than a 24-hour notice instead of the required 14-day notice was given.
The Health Services Board urged the striking doctors to return to work while government looks into their grievances.
The doctors are demanding improved availability of medicines and equipment, payment of salaries in U.S. dollars, upward review of on-call allowances and a review of the vehicle loan scheme.
The Board noted that government was making efforts to improve the supply of medicines and equipment as it had recently announced the finalization of an arrangement with India for 25 million dollars worth of medical goods, medicines and surgical sundries.
This is the second strike by the doctors this year alone.
Zimbabwe is currently facing a crippling foreign currency shortage that has resulted in shortages of essentials imports such as fuel, medical drugs and wheat. Enditem