Police officers and health workers, who offer some of the basic public services to citizens, have not received their August salaries five days into the new month, it has been learnt.
Confirming the news, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Nations Msowoya said this is because the ministries of Health and Home Affairs submitted their GP5 forms late. The forms determine how much money should be paid to each ministry.
He said the ministries in question did not follow the standard procedure which requires them to submit the forms every fifth day of each month, but they failed to comply.
Said Msowoya: “It is unfortunate that inefficiencies of few people have affected the whole ministries.”
He also said if it was a government problem, it would have affected many ministries.
Msowoya also said he was not sure when the salaries would be deposited into the concerned ministries’ accounts as officers responsible were engaged in other duties.
He said: “I don’t know when they will receive their salaries, maybe next week. We have designated days to process salaries and right now officers are engaged in other important duties.”
Msowoya also said they have been advertising in the local media about the deadline for submission of the forms, hoping that they will influence behaviour change in the government departments system.
However, Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) general secretary Madalitso Njolomole said he was told that the accountant general was failing to include names of those who were omitted in the previous months following a head-count of the two ministries.
He said: “I visited the office of the accountant general last week to get feedback on the issue. They said they were having problems in [adding] names of those omitted in the past months to the payroll.”
Njolomole said the union was not pleased with the reasons given by government that necessitated the delay.
He added: “This is a serious issue and it ought to be handled as such. At least government should have communicated that there will be a delay.
“We don’t know when we will be paid. This month we are paid on 5th, another month on 28th, how can we plan our lives?”
But Msowoya disputed assertions that the delay was as a result of the head-count of civil servants.
He said: “The head-count was done in all the ministries, why is it that only the ministries of Home Affairs and Health have been affected. The issue of head-count cannot account for these delays.”
Msowoya also said the procedure was that every civil servant should be physically counted, failing which they were required to present themselves to the Office of the Auditor General.