It’s a few weeks away to the third deadline of the National ID Simcard verification date and the panic has seemingly risen yet again. However, It’s the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) in panic mode as the enrollment officers that were hired to carry out the registration exercise of all school going children are on strike due to unpaid salary and allowance arrears.
In May 2017, the mass registration of children aged between 5 and 16 for the national identity card project was on launched in Western Uganda at Mbarara oxford inn to cover all primary and secondary schools, across the country. The project which is ongoing officially kicked off on May 29 and is meant to end on August 25, 2017.
The registration which is an undertaking by the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA), a government entity mandated to register births and deaths in the country and to develop a National Identification Register for both citizens and legal residents.
Consequently, NIRA sent out vacancy announcements for enrollment officers who will work with NIRA to execute the process in primary and secondary schools countrywide. I few people enrolled and were called to kick-start the project.
However, a few weeks down the road, a section of enrollment officers are pulling out from the process due to non-payment and majority are complaining that they have never received a penny from the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) ever since they started working.
Speaking to Guru8 on grounds of anonymity, enrollment officers shared their disgruntled-ness with NIRA and expressed disappointment, “These NIRA guys have put us in the field for two months now with no pay and no allowances” a lady officer angrily commented.
“We move from far distances to different schools and not allowances.”, she added
“They said in a meeting last week the financial year had elapsed. So we have to wait for the next. But our worry is how come some of our colleagues were paid moreover in full payment but some of us have never seen a penny” one added
Initially, in a letter that was sent out to all successful applicants, every enrollment officer was to be given an allowance of 15,000UGX to help them go about their work day and they were also promised a stipend of over 300,000UGX monthly. However, this has never come in handy for some enrollment officers.
The disgruntled enrollment officers that have not been paid are threatening to strike and reports have it that some from Rubaga, Kawempe, and Makindye have already gone on strike.
The National Identification Authority (NIRA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports rolled out a road map to undertake the registration exercise of all school going children in all primary, post-primary and secondary schools/institutions in Uganda starting 29th May 2017 to 25th August 2017(School Term II).
According to the enrollment officers, work commenced on 29th of may according to the appointment letters but since then they have not been paid a coin and have to move from school to school with no allowance .”It’s getting tough!”, they say.
The recruits that are seemingly getting frustrated by the day add that they can’t take it on anymore as no formal communication is being made to clear their concern.
NIRA Speaks Out!
In a phone call interview with Mr. Gilbert Kadilo, the NIRA Public Relations and Corporate Affairs Manager, he later refuted the claims saying NIRA has not refused to pay any of their enrollment officers who are handling the Registration of Pupils and Students Project.
“This is false and not true at all, NIRA has not failed nor has it refused to pay the enrollment officers”, Mr. Kadelo said in a phone call interview.
“In June, we enrolled about 8,090 officials at NIRA to undertake in the Registration of Schools Project 2017 and of those, only 813 officers have not received their payments yet”, he added
Mr. Gilbert added that these officials have only not been paid because as they (NIRA and the officers) agreed, they shall be paid using Mobile money and the system that is used to pay the officers is only compatible with Aritel and MTN networks
“We had a meeting with the enrollment officers and we agreed that we shall pay them using Mobile Money, However, some of them gave us numbers that are not registered under their names and some numbers are not even registered on mobile money. We can’t, therefore, be able to process their payment however that doesn’t mean we have refused to pay them.”, he explained.
The exercise is aimed at capturing data of children in the age bracket that is not currently recorded in the national registry data bank. The pupils will however not be given National Identity cards. Instead, they will be given a national identification number which will be used for the issuance of a National ID, once they turn 16.