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National Statistic Office staff press for allowances

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By Ireen Kayira and Chifundo Ned:

DEMANDING MORE—Some of the NSO staff

Supervisors and enumerators for the 2018 Malawi Population and Housing Census on Thursday threatened to boycott their work due to various issues they have with National Statistic Office (NSO).

The workers met at St Jones Primary School in Lilongwe where they agreed to give NSO until Tuesday next week to pay them training allowances, among other issues.

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One of the supervisors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the workers will not go back to work if their demands are not met by September 11.

In a letter which we have seen, some of the issues raised are need for airtime and tablets for supervisors, security, unpaid training allowances and need for identification cards.

“We participated in a six-day training from which we were supposed to be paid K120, 000 at the end of training, but we were only given K20, 000 for the whole training instead of the required training allowance,” the letter reads in part.

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The workers also feel the K120, 000 they are going to receive after completion of their work is not enough compared to the demands of the work.

Supervisors are also demanding to have tablets which have only been given to enumerators.

“Now we have started work in the field but some of the enumerators’ tablets are not functioning well to the point that data collected of close to 15 households has been lost before sending it to the control centre supervisor,” the letter further reads.

In his response, NSO Public Relations Officer, Kingsley Manda said increasing remuneration was not possible as NSO had fixed K120,000 because the enumerators and supervisors were recruited in areas close to their homes.

“Everyone was supposed to do interviews at the centre that was close to their area of residence so that they may be recruited in the area close to their home.

“Those who lied and had interviews in centres far from their homes are the ones who are complaining about the pay because the distance is long for them,” he said.

However, he pledged to sort out the issue of airtime by next week, saying each supervisor will be given K15, 000 for airtime and money for transport.

“NSO has paid 90 percent of training allowances. Those that have not received their allowances are those that just opened bank accounts and had not finalised the process of opening the bank accounts. By next week, everyone will have the allowances,” Manda said.

The 2018 Population and Housing Census started on September 3, and is expected to end after 21 days.

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