Malawi: Govt interns go 3 months without pay

At least 990 graduate government interns, under the third and fourth cohorts of the internship programme, have not been receiving their monthly allowances since July this year; a development they say has led to failure to sustain themselves in their respective duty stations.

National chairperson for the interns Arthur Chadokota said the cohorts started their internship in April and June, respectively, and have been engaging Ministry of Labour on the allowances.

“We went to Capital Hill where we met some senior officials from Ministry of Labour where we were assured that we would get our allowances in the soonest time possible. Now they keep changing dates.

“The officials told us that the problem was as a result of government adopting a new payment system and we are surprised it is taking so long for the problem to be rectified,” he said.

An intern at Machinga District Council, who opted for anonymity, said they are facing challenges to meet daily needs such as food and money for rentals, adding that some interns have already been evicted from rented houses.

“We are told to compile a list where we should include our bank account details, yet they can just refer to the forms we filled when we were applying for the internships. We want government to act with speed in solving this problem,” the concerned intern said.

Deputy Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule said the non-payment was a result of a technical glitch within the ministry and Accountant General’s office due to changes in Integrated Financial Management Information System which demanded a new payment model.

“We understand the tough times the interns are going through, but we are in the final stages of addressing this challenge. The Accountant General and Ministry of Finance have assured us that the payments will be done very soon,” Kamtukule said.

She further asked for patience from the interns while also revealing that the ministry will be meeting their leadership tomorrow on the matter.

However, when contacted, Chadokota said he was yet to be notified of the planned meeting.

On Thursday, the ministry released a statement, signed by Principal Secretary Dickson Chunga, indicating that it was working with other government institutions to address the challenge.

Each intern is supposed to get a K80, 000 monthly stipend.

Government rolled out the internship programme in September 2018 with an aim of giving fresh graduates an opportunity to gain work experience while also beefing the workforce in the civil service.

 Source: Times Group《》RT

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