A hitch in a new payroll system has left some civil servants working in district councils with no option but to wait for their January salaries and wages for more than half a month now.
The civil servants include those working in the health, education and agriculture sectors.
A circular dated January 30, 2017 from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development indicated that the delay is due to technicalities associated with a new payroll processing system for the council employees.
In 1998 Malawi adopted the National Decentralisation Policy and Parliament passed the Local Government Act (LGA) in the same year providing legal basis for implementation of the policy that decentralises government operations.
According to the ministry, among other objectives, the policy intends to enhance the efficiency of service delivery by government.
One of the affected civil servants working at Machinga District Hospital confided in The Nation that management at the hospital have since communicated to them that Treasury has now assured the district council that salary vouchers for the employees have been processed and will be deposited into their accounts anytime from now.
He described the situation as terrible considering that they received their last salaries on December 22, 2016.
In an earlier interview, Director of Planning at the Ministry of Health Emma Mabvumbe confirmed that from now onwards, funding for health workers at district councils will be going directly from Treasury to district councils.
She said district payrolls have now been handed over to the Department of Human Resources and Development (DHMRD).
She regretted the salary delays but said final decisions are in the hands of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee chairperson Rhino Chiphiko said the change of the system is a positive move that will help eliminate the presence of ghost workers on payrolls but asked authorities to speed up the migration to the new system so that affected workers are paid as soon as possible.