Clear civil servants’ salary arrears – MPs
Members of Parliament and senior officials from the Ombundsman’s Office, yesterday, called on government to settle pending civil servants’ arrears, some of which date back to 1994..
They were speaking during a parliamentary Political Affairs and Gender Standing Commitee session, which was briefed by the two deputy Ombudspersons.
However, The New Times could not immediately establish the number of the affected workers.
Deputy Ombudsman Bernedette Kanzayire, told the committee that many former civil servants, especially teachers and local government employees, had been denied their due salaries because they were hired without formal documentation such as employment contracts.
Primary and secondary school teachers as well as local administrative entities’ employees before 1994 and during the post-Genocide transition period are still struggling to get their pay, officials said. However, at the time, most institutions did not provide necessary paper work, which budget managers need before releasing money.
“Relevant ministries should set directives to specify what can be based on to follow up on arrears and the required documents, as evidence, because there are things that former civil servants are asked to provide yet they cannot get them,” Kanzayire said, referring to “requirements the Ministry of Finance included in its directives but cannot be obtained, especially when you consider the processes of recruitment during the (post-Genocide) transitional period.”
Kanzayire noted that while she understood the importance of adhering to strict public finance management procedures, it was equally important that the Ministries of Local Government, Finance, and Education, urgently worked together to address the arrears issue.
MP Alphonsine Mukarugema said: “Some schools were better organised and provided documents but in others, like in primary schools, no employment contracts were given yet it is well known that these teachers actually worked.”
“I wonder how such a teacher can be required to produce them yet they do not exist. This issue should be settled once and for all. Eighteen years is such a long time.”
Kanzayire, among other issues, responded to the committee’s inquiry on the plight of Genocide orphans whose land was grabbed between 1995-98, especially in Ngoma District.
Kanzayire noted that it is a big problem and that a thorough investigation was needed to look into the matter and correct the past mistakes. She noted that an earlier account by the ministry of justice saying that orphans above 18 years will not be considered is defective as it could have based on the old law.
Contact email: james.karuhanga[at]newtimes.co.rw