The Members of Parliament (MPs) Research Assistants would not go away anytime soon as their unpaid salaries took a new turn.
In February 2019, some monies was released by the Ministry of Finance to pay the salaries of One hundred and twenty-one (121) Research Assistants from July 2018 to January 2019 which was indicated as the “First Batch”.
Payment of salaries to the “Second Batch” has been problematic due to the back and forth on approval by the Ministry of Finance. Meanwhile, salaries from February 2019 till date have also not been paid.
Information gathered from the Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance indicates that some names among the Research Assistants have been found in the list of National Service Personnel submitted to the Ministry by the National Service Secretariat.
Some of the names have also been found on the payrolls of other institutions like NABCo, thus further delaying the processing of their salaries, as further checks are required to clean the list.
Some of the unhappy Research Assistants are pointing fingers at the Human Resource Department of Parliament for the mess.
The Research Assistants argue that the HR officers accepted applications from National Service Personnel while the requirement for recruiting RAs provided that applicants must have completed their national service.
It must be noted that some Research Assistants started work as far back as 2017 when Parliament began deliberations on approving the recruitment of MPs Research Assistants but are yet to receive a penny from the Parliamentary Service.
These Research Assistants have expressed their deep worry about the situation since it has woefully affected their finances and their work.
They further expressed their mistrust in the dealings of the HR Department of Parliament, indicating that, its unprofessional status for employing and paying unqualified National Service Personnel at the expense of some qualified Research Assistants who have been engaged as far back as 2017 but have not received a dime as salary from the Parliamentary Service.