Bingu govt admits it goofed on chiefs payment through banks

Malawi government owes chiefs K38 million in arrears of honoraria because it failed to pay most of them through the newly introduced bank system.

Government has admitted it goofed to force chiefs get their monthly honoraria through the banks when most of them live in rural areas where there are no banks and that others are too old to travel to the banks.

President Bingu wa Mutharika has directed that the bank payment system for chiefs be banned immediately until banks are available in rural areas where chiefs can easily access.

Mussa: We goofed

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Henry Mussa told state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday that chiefs will now be paid at the traditional authorities.

“Our teams will be going to traditional authorities headquarters where all the chiefs will get their salaries, wages and honoraria,” said Mussa.

Mussa said government owes chiefs K38 million which it failed to pay because most chiefs did not go to bank to collect the money and that in some cases, money was not available at the banks.

“The president directed last month that money be available to pay all the arrears and I am glad to report that Treasury has provided the money. Our people are on the ground paying the chiefs and we hope the exercise will be through by Friday,” Mussa said.

In February government directed that all its payment to its employees and those providing services to it should be done through the banks.

The system put chiefs in awkward position as most of them live in areas where there are no banks. Most chiefs went for so many months without pay.

The system has also irked participants to functions organized by government and its departments because allowances are paid through the bank days or weeks after the function.

Paramount chiefs receive K50 000 per month while senior chiefs K30 000 and traditional authorities K18 000.

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