MORE than 200 listers who were hired by the University of Zambia (UNZA) to conduct a health formative survey with technical assistance from the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZamStats) have complained that their wages have not been paid.
UNZA hired ZamStats to complete the listing in 30 districts throughout all 10 provinces of Zambia.
The survey’s listers were tasked with finding and cataloging homes where girls between the ages of 10 and 24 were experiencing gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, and issues with sexual and reproductive health.
Three towns per province were included in the exercise, which was conducted in August as part of the 2022 Census of Population and Housing.
The UNZA paid Zamstats, and the average length of the survey was 10 days.
According to reports, errors in the payment process for the 50% down payment, which equaled K4, 970 per lister, caused some listers to enter the field without cash.
Listers were promised payment upon delivery of the agency’s tablets and retirement of the acquittal forms, but three months later, nothing has happened.
Two weeks ago, a WhatsApp group that was being utilized for communication was terminated, leaving listers without a clear path forward.
Some listers made a concerted attempt to visit various ZamStats provincial offices, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Acting statistician general Mulenga Musepa of ZamStats sent questions to UNZA, who he said was the survey’s owner, when he was approached.
Please contact the UNZA organizers who paid for the survey. I think ZamStats only offered the technical support, according to Mr. Musepa.
Some Lusaka-based listers who had already organized themselves and gone to the ZamStats headquarters to demand payment received a similar response.
“We were informed that ZamStats had not received payment from UNZA for the sums. So, we went to the Dean, Hikabasa Halwiindi, of the School of Public Health, to ask. He fully informed us of the situation.
We’re curious as to why the ZamStats organizers neglected to keep accurate records and retire the appropriate acquittal forms, said a Lusaka lister who requested anonymity.
Dr. Halwiindi gave an explanation of the causes of the payment delay.
The issue is that ZamStats is not fulfilling their part in the solution. They are in charge of the research project at UNZA. We gave them a sizable sum of money to complete the listing.
You might be interested to know that the Global Fund is providing funding for the initiative. And since ZamStats has not provided the proper documentation for the prior payment, we must do so in order to get the funds that are intended to be given to the listers, he continued.
ZamStats has been delivering receipts, but most of them, according to Dr. Halwiindi, are incorrect.
“The identities mentioned as the people who performed the labor were different from the names that appeared on the receipts. Therefore, we have been requesting that ZamStats send all of the accurate receipts and fix their mistakes. Unfortunately, ZamStats isn’t giving their listers all the information, he claimed.
Dr. Halwiindi made the following suggestion to ZamStats: “Perhaps we convene [an emergency tripartite] meeting so that [subsequently] there is no finger pointing.”
But according to the listers we spoke with, they need their money as soon as possible. They declared that their tolerance had since run out and that they would report everyone responsible to the appropriate authorities.