Four months after President Peter Mutharika authorised the promotion of 20 000 teachers and 8 600 police officers, some of the promoted civil and public servants claim that they have not started receiving their new salaries.
Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM), the mother body of all teachers in the country, has confirmed receiving numerous complaints from teachers who were promoted but are still receiving their old salaries.
TUM secretary general Charles Kumchenga in an interview on Wednesday said his office has been receiving many complaints from teachers who were promoted but are yet to start receiving their new salaries. He could, however, not quantify the number of affected teachers.
He said the union has been negotiating with government to ensure that all promoted teachers missing on the new salaries list should start receiving the new perks from the end of this month with arrears.
Said Kumchenga: “We have been receiving many complaints to do with the promotion of our teachers. Some started receiving new salaries while others have not started. The most affected [education] division is Lilongwe Urban. But government assured us that it would resolve all outstanding issues this month-end.”
On the other hand 14 different sources from Malawi Police Service (MPS) revealed that out of the 8 600 police officers promoted in April and May this year, about 2 000 officers of different ranks have not started receiving their new salaries.
But police national spokesperson James Kadadzera and Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi were elusive on whether some promoted police officers are yet to start receiving their new salaries based on their new ranks.
Said Kadadzera: “Police officers know where to present their grievances. I can’t comment further.”
On his part, Dausi said he could not discuss issues of national security in the media.
He said: “I would be very uncomfortable to discuss issues of the security to the media. So I decline to comment.”
But asked what is delaying the normalisation of new salaries for teachers, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho said her ministry completed all processes on the promotion of teachers and is waiting for the Department of Human Resource Management and Development (DHRMD) to adjust the salaries.
She said: “Local Government Service Commission did its part and letters of promotion were issued. What remains is Department of Human Resource Management and Development to reflect the promotions.”
But when contacted, DHRMD secretary Hiralio Chimota dismissed Mughogho’s claims, saying his department does not reflect on promotions as government decentralised every payroll to departments.
He said government released money for promotions and if ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are failing to implement the new salaries for the promoted civil servants, it has nothing to do with DHRMD.
Said Chimota: “That is not true. DHMRD doesn’t reflect on promotions. They issue their own letters there, they prepare their salaries, and they present their GP under the district councils. DHMRD cannot be putting people on the payroll for every district and even at the central level we don’t do those things.”
The promotion of 20 000 teachers, 8 600 police officers and 11 medical specialists from grade P4 to grade P2 of the civil service between April and May during the 2019 Tripartite Elections campaign period attracted different views with Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) pushing for promotion of all mainstream civil servants.
CSTU also faulted government for flouting procedures for promoting public officers.
But then minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is on record as having said government had no financial capacity to promote all civil servants.
He backed the teachers’ and police officers’ promotions, saying government used the unforeseen expenditure vote in the K1.4 trillion 2018/19 National Budget. As part of Malawi’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Extended Facility Programme support, government wage bill should not exceed nine percent of the normal gross domestic product (GDP) currently pegged at about K4.6 trillion. The current wage bill is about K390 billion which translates to 8.5 percent of the GDP.