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National Statics Office fails to pay firms

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By Serah Makondetsa:

CONFERRING – Goodall and Mercy Kanyuka (left)

National Statics Office (NSO) is allegedly being accused of not paying car hire firms for the services they rendered during the 2018 National Population and Housing Census exercise in September.

A letter which Malawi News has seen dated December 28 2018 written by a group of some subcontracted firms signed by the grouping’s spokesperson Jonathan Kamwawa said NSO promised to pay them two weeks after the census.

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“Four months have passed without being paid. Our vehicles came back with wornout tyres and they need replacement as soon as possible. Whenever we follow up with the car hire owners, they put blame on NSO for unpaid service. We were dealing with about four car hire service providers,” reads the letter.

However, NSO Commissioner Mercy Kanyuka declined to comment on the development pushing the matter to the organisation’s spokesperson.

“Are you inquiring from the car hires? Talk to Kingsley Manda, he is the spokesperson, send him a questionnaire and he will respond,” she said.

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Efforts to speak to Kingsley Manda proved futile as he could pick up his mobile phone.

One of the car hire companies, Planet Car Hire, could not give details on the matter simply saying government is sorting out the matter.

One of the directors of Planet Car Hire Austin Nyondo said he could not talk about the matter arguing he did not want such issues to be discussed in the media.

“Such issues are tough to bring out to the media because we know the processes that go on in government. I am one of the directors and I wouldn’t blame the government. I know the people complaining are the people we borrowed cars from but I am personally not complaining because the invoices were so many and the auditors have to verify them.

“So, I cannot comment on that issue because I know the processes involved. You can ask me about anything and I will comment just not on this issue,” he said.

The grouping has since given NSO a January 1 2019 ultimatum for the organisation respond to their concerns.

“Personally, I have been following up with NSO about this issue but I have ended in different offices without anything to show up. We are giving them up to 1st January 2019 to settle our payments. We will take action if nothing tangible comes up,” reads the letter.

In September, supervisors and enumerator threatened to boycott their work due to unpaid allowances.

The 2018 Population and Housing Census was conducted across the country for 21 days. The exercise happens after every 10 years.

Malawi is currently estimated to have a population of 17 million

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