Concerned Graduate Interns under the K5 billion Youth Internship Programme (YIP) are demanding an increase in their honoraria from K80 000 to K120 000 due to what they term high cost of living.
To pay the 3 800 interns monthly, government spends about K304 million and increasing the perks to K120 000 per head would mean Treasury parting with K456 million per month.
In a letter addressed to
Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and
Manpower Development Principal Secretary Joseph Mwandidya dated April 30 2019, the interns say they are concerned that resolutions from previous meetings on their welfare were not being attended to.
The letter, co-signed by
interim chairperson for a special committee
engaging government Blessings Chiwosi and his colleagues Eunice Chakhwantha Munthali and Dalitso Mndolo, reads: “The first major request had been on the possibility for our full-time employment which had been followed by a series of un-static promises and inconsistent hope-offering.
“This is what has prompted us to write our second request to you to consider increasing our monthly allowance to at least a one hundred twenty thousand kwacha [K120 000].”
They contend that the K80 000 is not enough to cater for rentals, food and other basic necessities.
Further reads the letter: “It will be our pleasure if our listening and considerate government will kindly consider granting us this plea before 13th May 2019 so that we can be assured as well that this move is really not political in any way.”
Mwandidya said he was yet to receive the said letter; hence, would not be in a position to comment.
Secretary to the Treasury Cliff Chiunda also said he was not aware of the issue, but promised to engage Mwandidya on the matter.
The interns’ demand comes barely a week after mainstream civil servants under the banner of Civil Service Trade Union demanded promotions and increments in reaction to mass promotions for police officers and teachers in public primary and secondary schools.
When presenting the 2018/19 National Budget statement in Parliament, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe announced the K4.8 billion programme which targeted to provide 5 000 youths aged between 18 and 30 work experience both in public service and private sector.