Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: Employees of the electronic national identity cards (e-NID) department protested prolonged delay in payment of their salaries on Wednesday here.
Around 100 employees of the department gathered before the parliament and chanted slogans in favor of their demands.
They said that salaries of 1,000 staffers of the department had not been paid for the last four to five months.
Mustafa Kohestani, an e-NID department worker, warned that if their salaries were not processed the employees would quit the job.
He said that distribution of the computerized ID cards should be started soon in order to save jobs of the depressed employees. “We have not received our salaries since April. We are here to ask the lawmakers to pressurize the government to pay our salaries,” Kohestani said.
Replying to a question he said that the chief of Internal Security Committee (ISC) of the Wolesi Jirga in a meeting promised them to share their grievances with the legislators in the coming session.
Sahar, another employee, said that she has not received her salary for the last four months.
“I am not here to protest only for my salary, but for quick issuance of the new ID cards as well. Around 1,000 staffers [of the department] will lose their jobs if the project is further delayed. Salary of each employee is $500 to $700 [per month],” she said.
Bilal Ahmad, another protestor, said that there was no problem that could hamper the distribution process, provided the government was interested.
Responding to a question he said that he did not know why the issuance of the new ID cards was delayed as the law pertinent to the distribution and registration was already approved by the parliament and signed by President Ashraf Ghani. He said the department’s workers were well-trained and ready to issue the new cards.
The employees were hired two years ago from all 34 provinces through a competitive exam. The workers now find it extremely difficult to feed their families and meet the transportation cost.