National IDs registration exercise in under threat following disagreements between National Registration Bureau (NRB) and employees, who are protesting against what they call meager salaries and poor working conditions.
This has raised concern over security during the exercise as commentators point out that the workers may accept bribes to issue identity cards to foreigners to compensate for their benefits.
Nyasa Times has established that 30 registration officers have pulled off, while Some supervisors were forced to sign leave letter because their Registration officers were not coming forth.
One employee, who spoke on condition of aninomity told Nyasa Times on Tuesday that Supervisors and registration officers are sleeping in unsecure classes with the responsibility to take care for the registration equipment which is worth millions.
“As l am talking to you Officers are forced to walk by foot for distances of over 15 kilometers to and from registration centers. This is barbaric and a lot of people are ready to resign if the conditions do not improve,” he warned.
He said the whole saga started when bureau promised to give them K150,000 and K120,000 for supervisors and registration officers respectively.
“As supervisor we argued with them that the amount was too small to carter for food, transport, accommodation and other contingencies. Operating away from home with that amount without any field allowance was as good as condemning us to death. But as it was expected, the bosses refused to back off.
“We told them that the activity which they hired us for, was a noble cause and carried a great importance to this country as such it was very important that the workers be given a motivating remuneration. As opposed to any sound reasoning presented they held on to their grounds. We then warned them that the work risk being abandoned or sabotaged or at least the work will be substandard. No later than two weeks has our fears been confirmed,” he said.
Nyasa Times understand that these supervisors for the exercise signed contracts of K150,000 before tax while officers were promised a K120,000 every three-weeks or a month period.
An inside source at NRB told Nyasa Times that some officers at NRB squandered money which was meant for the exercise, hence the move to offer meager wages.
Some disgruntled bosses at NRB have also reached at an extent of challenging these employees to leave if they are not happy with the wages.
“When we wrote NRB, they promised to look into the matter, saying we had a reasonable case but from nowhere the response has changed. They say if we are not ready to work, we can leave,” one of the supervisors said.
One Supervisor also warned that what NRB bosses are doing can easily jeopardize the whole exercise.
“What if a foreigner comes to me with K1 million, I certainly will issue an ID for him because I am not satisfied with my salary. As a concerned person, I feel the project has taken advantage of high unemployment rate in the country to exploit the poor. If this issue will not be addressed l can challenge you that the process will be doomed ,” he said.
National Registration Bureau (NRB) spokesperson, Norman Fulatira, however told The Daily Times a few weeks ago that the recruitment and welfare of temporary registration staff is in the hands of consultants.
Meanwhile, phase one of the national ID mass registration was inaugurated a week ago at Mchinji Hall and Mzura Primary School sites in the district.
However, Nyasa Times can confirm that different stakeholders are holding a crisis meeting at to map the way forward on this issue.
This exercise is being sponsored by different donors like UNDP, UK aid, Irish aid, European Union, USAID and the Malawi Government.
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