A total of 32 recently recruited Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives ministry employees in Rorya District are said to be leading difficult lives, including going without food and various other basic needs.
They blame their plight on non-payment of their salaries for three consecutive months, a claim local authorities dismiss as misleading.
Those affected are extension staff who reported for duty in January after completing studies at a number of agricultural and livestock training institutes under the ministry. They say they have not paid salaries even for a single month, but the district council has a completely different story.
This paper has it on good authority that the said employees collected their employment and working station letters from the ministry’s permanent secretary sometime in January this year. They reported for work soon after as directed but so far all they have been paid in 245,000/- each in so-called self-supporting allowance.
Rorya District Council acting director Charles Chacha first confirmed the reports, saying they were doing the most they could to solve the problem.
“We were told the money we were paid was meant to support us during our first days in the area, given that most of us are from regions far from Rorya District,” one of those affected said in a telephone interview on condition of anonymity.
“The amount was far from enough, considering the high cost of living including house rent, purchase of essential items such as utensils, beds, mattresses and food,” the employee pointed out, adding: “We contacted an officer in-charge at the (Rorya District) council, who promised to work on the matter, but to no avail until now.”
A second employee explained that they were paid “some form of allowance” amounting to 90,000/- each during an orientation seminar conducted for them by the council in February “and that was it”.
“There have been no further payments from the council since that time, despite earlier promises by the council director to pay us our salaries and other dues,” she said, also without wanting to give her name.
She said the most the district council director and their head of department were telling them is that the Agriculture ministry has yet to set aside and disburse funds for their salaries.
“That has really disappointed and demoralised us as it contradicts earlier reports that delays in our payments were due to technical hitches in the payroll systems,” she noted, adding that they were being unfairly treated when they were yet to establish themselves as “new employees in a tough working environment”.
“We are in a dilemma in that all our colleagues (former college mates) posted to other district council keep telling us that they have had no problems receiving their salaries,” she said.
But acting director Chacha said in later comments that he knew of only four newly recruited employees “who have not received their salaries following disruptions in the payroll system”.
“Technical problems were experienced during the process of sorting out the names of new employees… Some names went missing, but efforts are being made to rectify the situation,” he noted, adding: “It is our hope that beginning this month all these four will be receiving their salaries on schedule.”
Elaborating, Chacha admitted that the names of some employees do not as yet appear on the payroll “and we have had to pay them their salaries outside through an alternative arrangement – so it is not true that any of them has not been paid”.