Luwingu council ordered to settle arrears
Luwingu, 18th September, 2014, ZANIS– Local government and housing deputy minister Forrie Tembo has ordered Luwingu district council to pay its division four workers who are in three months salary arrears with immediate effect.
The visibly annoyed deputy minister said he was not happy to note that Luwingu district council was failing to pay its workers despite having procured earth moving equipment to help them raise enough revenue.
He lamented that there was no way that the council could fail to pay its division four workers when the earth moving machines were making colossal sums of money from the contractors engaged by ministry of local government and housing to work on feeder roads in the district.
Mr. Tembo revealed that the council hired the earth moving machines from his Ministry to Mkaka Construction Company limited a Malawian based company which is doing Chepeshi-Shimumbi road in Luwingu.
He said his ministry will not take kindly to councils with capacity to fail to pay arrears for workers in division four salary and wages before government takes up the responsibility of paying.
Mr. Tembo explained that last year government took over the responsibility of paying salaries for workers who fall in salary scales division one to division three a move meant to help the councils pay the remaining division four workers.
“But surprisingly the council was also failing to pay these workers and the councilor’s allowances. I am instructing you council management to pay council workers immediately and submit the report at the end of this month (September),” he added.
Mr. Tembo ordered the council management when he held meeting of council workers and selected councilors in the council chamber yesterday.
He said government will not pay the arrears for division four workers but that the council using the money raised from the hire of earth moving machines which were bought using constituency development funds for 2013 to settle the arrears.
The deputy minister also advised the council management not to hide any information from the councilors regarding the agreement between the councilor and the contractor who has hired the machines because hiding information might bring unnecessary confusion in the district.
The minister was reacting to concerns raised by the councilors that they have no information of the whereabouts of the recently procured equipment which include a grander, tipper truck and excavator which have been missing for over two months now.
And acting council secretary Albert Chungu told the deputy minister that Luwingu district council was facing challenges to offset wages for division four employees because it is situated in an area where there was no resources to raise revenue.
He however said that the council has managed to pay the affected workers salaries for January to May and that they were in arrears for the last three months.
Mr Chungu said the revision of councilors allowances and introduction of monthly allowance has posed another challenge for cash strapped Luwingu and appealed to the ministry of local government to consider taking up the mammoth challenges facing the council.
He thanked the government for continuing releasing grants to pay division one to three officers saying this was a very good testimony that the PF government was listening to their plight.
Mr Chungu said the current Collective Agreement has improved the living standard of division one to three officers adding pledging that they will continue to support the PF government.