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National IDs registration exercise under threat

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People who have been undergoing training for the soon-to-be-rolled-out mass national registration and identification exercise are silently protesting against what they call meagre salaries.

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.

The Daily Times has established that supervisors for the exercise are signing contracts of K150,000 before tax while officers are promised a K120,000 every three-weeks or a month period.

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Thirty-eight of the 200 people who were contracted as supervisors have already left the job, describing the offer as unreasonable.

One of those that are still hanging on to the job, under conditions of anonymity, alleges that money was squandered at the NRB offices, hence the move to offer such wages.

“At first 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 disgruntled supervisors said.

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He jokingly said that they are going to be offering the Malawian National IDs to foreigners to make amends on the salaries.

“With the money I am receiving if a Burundi national comes to me with K3 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,” he said.

The money is meant for accommodation, meals and other incidentals in the field.

Their own mathematics indicates that an after-tax benefit of K5,000 a day is their salary.

National Registration Bureau (NRB) spokesperson, Norman Fulatira, however, said the recruitment and welfare of temporary registration staff is in the hands of consultants.

According to Fulatira, phase one of the national ID mass registration will be inaugurated tomorrow at Mchinji Hall and Mzura Primary School sites in the district.

He, however, asked for more time before he could respond on the matter.

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