Thousands of civil servants have been removed from the government payroll for not submitting details of their national identity (ID) cards.
The development means that those affected will not get their December salaries, thereby facing the prospect of a sad Christmas and New Year festive season.
Both Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) secretary general (SG) Madalitso Njolomole and Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) SG Charles Kumchenga confirmed the development in separate telephone interviews yesterday.
Njolomole said government removed the concerned employees because they did not comply with the order that they should submit their national ID cards details for scrutiny on the legitimacy of its employees.
However, he faulted government for implementing its decision in a month that culminates into the festive season.
Said Njolomole: “We are saying it is bad timing because December should not have been the month for implementing the decision. We believe there is negligence among some officers on this issue.”
He said those chopped from the payroll at district level for Mangochi alone range between 500 and 600.
Kumchenga observed that most of those affected are teachers under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), which is said to be the biggest employer in the civil service.
Reacting to the concerns, Department of Human Resource Management and Development spokesperson Kennie Mtonga estimated the figure of those supposed to be deleted from the government payroll to be in thousands.
He said: “Initially, the figure stood at 8 077, but it has since dropped because some departments such as Karonga District Council had complied with the requirements at the eleventh hour. They have since been assisted. However, I am yet to verify the latest figure as offices were closed in the evening.”
He said the national ID numbers are necessary considering that the new government policy requires those employed to have IDs for easy identification.
Said Mtonga: “For one and a half years, government issued about four circulars reminding civil servants in all ministries, departments and agencies of the same. Many complied, but others did not; hence, the action.”
Kumchenga warned that teacher will in January down their tools and hold nationwide demonstrations if their colleagues do not get December salaries.
Government is said to have introduced the national ID as primary identity to flush out ghost workers.
The national ID has become the primary identity in most service entities, including commercial banks.