PUBLIC sector employers failing to electronically register their employees risk severe disciplinary measures, with the government extending the deadline to October 31.
Concurrently, the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) was yesterday directed to uncover ghost students who have benefited from the government bursar since 1994, to support the government efforts against the cheating, amid proposal to raise the loan repayment rate from the current eight to 15 per cent.
Minister of State in the President’s Office, Public Service Management, Ms Angela Kairuki, said here yesterday that immediately after the October 31 registration deadline, her ministry will embark on verification drive in all offices.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Home Affairs Minister, Mr Mwigulu Nchemba, said the government has extended the registration to October 31, exuding confidence that many public servants had been registered.
“The registration was earlier scheduled for completion on October 17 but due to various challenges between one region and another, we have decided to extend the deadline,’’ he said.
He said over 50 per cent of the civil servants had been registered as of yesterday, with Geita Region recording the highest per cent of over 95 per cent of its workers.
“The success has been contributed by the National Identification Authority’s (NIDA) initiative to deploy its human resource and equipment countrywide and the authority’s efficiency in carrying out the exercise,” he said.
Mr Nchemba said as of yesterday, NIDA had registered 236,016 workers countrywide, with 110,237 of them already having issued with the National Identity Cards (IDs).
“We had a challenge initially where some workers thought we were verifying academic certificates, but I want to ask them to respond to the ongoing registration because it is for their own benefits as they will be the first to get the national IDs before the exercise is rolled out countrywide,’’ he said.
The minister added that the registration records of employees would align their details in the government payroll system, HESLB, Employment Secretariat, banking system, pension funds and higher learning institutions admission system, among others.
In another development, the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Constitutional Affairs Chairman, Mr Mohamed Mchengerwa, said according to HESLB, 324,000 students have benefited from the government loans, but the number also include ghost students as indicated by recent government efforts to uncover them.
He said although the board proposes amendment on the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board Act to enhance beneficiaries and employers’ accountability in loan repayment, it should also squarely deal with phantom beneficiaries.
He urged the board to include a section in the law stating clearly the measures to be taken against loans defaulters. Madaba MP Joseph Mhagama said that according to statistics, a total of 2.4trn/- has been issued as loans to 324,000 beneficiaries, but the amount repaid so far is only 284bn/-.
“This is a negligible amount and the board should come up with proper mechanism to boost loan repayment ... it should also establish the number of beneficiaries who have so far paid back the money,” the legislator argued.
Presenting the proposed amendments, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Simon Msanjilwa, said among others, the changes seek to review the loan repayment rate from eight to 15 per cent.
According to the amendments, employers will be required to inform the HESLB on employment of any person with degree or diploma and make monthly deductions from the loan beneficiaries.
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