Civil servants in 11 district councils are yet to receive October salaries, The Nation has established.
The affected districts are Chikwawa, Phalombe, Dedza, Mulanje, Lilongwe, Karonga Nkhotakota, Chitipa, Mzimba, Machinga and Neno.
In random interview yesterday, council officials in some of the affected districts attributed the delay to the recruitment of about 8 700 primary school teachers, saying some of them presented wrong information.
Machinga district commissioner (DC) Bester Mandele confirmed that all staff at the council have not received their October salaries due to one new recruited primary school teacher who failed to submit a copy of the national identity (ID) card.
According to Mandele, the Treasury releases salaries if the council’s budget has no error and it matches with the budget they submit to the Ministry of Finance before salaries.
He said: “Salaries for Machinga have been delayed because one new primary school teacher failed to produce a copy of the national identity card. So, according to Treasury, this person does not exist. This compelled the Treasury to disapprove all salaries of the district until the said person presents the ID. But possibly, by the end this week, we will all receive our salaries.”
DCs for Dedza and Chitipa, Francis Matewele and Michael Chimbalanga, respectively, and Chikwawa district council principal administration officer, Victoria Wane, also confirmed that the October salaries for their respective districts were also delayed due to anomalies that arose because of the newly recruited primary school teachers.
Matewele said the matter is being taken care of and was optimistic that civil servants in the district would start getting their salaries any day within the week.
He said: “The October salaries were indeed delayed in Dedza simply because of the introduction of new teachers on the payroll just as in other districts because the number of teachers is huge.”
However, Chimbalanga noted that apart from new primary school teachers, chiefs have also contributed to the delay following government’s new arrangement that provides that traditional leaders should also receive their honoraria through banks.
He said: “Of course, new primary school teachers have contributed to the delay but chiefs contributed the larger part because most of them had no bank accounts. Previously, we were paying chiefs’ honoraria by cash. But with the new system that they should be getting their money through banks, most of them had no bank accounts. Possibly by the end of this week salaries will be ready.”
Asked why civil servants in 11 district councils encountered a similar problem with their October salaries, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho said her ministry does not play any role in processing of salaries in district councils.
She said: “With the devolution of the payroll, councils are responsible for their salaries and not the ministry. The individual councils and Treasury would be better-placed to know in this case.”
But when contacted, Secretary to the Treasury Ben Botolo referred the matter back to Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in August this year announced that it had started recruiting Initial Primary Teachers Education (IPTE) 10, 11 and Open Distance Learning (ODL) 5 primary school teachers who graduated over 25 months ago.
But according to one new recruit, they are yet to receive any salary which means the salaries that have been delayed in most district councils will be their first pay since they were employed.