By Prince Bill M Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst
It’s been a while since the new dawn administration introduced the 20 percent partial withdraw so that citizens are given a golden opportunity to either sort out their pressing financial needs or invest business ventures of any kind. Hitherto, a number of people are still struggling to lay their hands on the money they worked for……some of them have to endure long distances and burn their savings on transport to get to a nearest NAPSA facility.
Where’s the problem?
I made my first foray at NAPSA Kitwe three weeks ago. I was shocked to find queues stretching away miles and miles. I made a decision to give it a try another time. Three days later, I tasked my assistant to go to NAPSA wee hours of the day and stand in the queue for me. A number of people already milling up as early as 5 AM! He made it on ticket number 350. By the time he almost made it to the entrance, it was past 16:00 hours. It was time to close shop!
Next day, I decided to take matters into my own hands and got there much earlier. I was handed ticket number 220. The person ahead of me narrated that he had camping there for the past 2 nights. He was from Kalulushi, a tiny rural enclave 25 minutes away Northwest of Kitwe. There were already 380 clients ahead of him when he got there.
He couldn’t make much progress as they were having network challenges. They were told to come back the next day. Since he didn’t have transport money to take him back to Kalulushi, he decided to spend the night in a mobile money phone booth where he had to answer the call of nature in empty containers. He couldn’t get any sleep at all as the mosquitoes made a great feast of himself! As usual, the queue moved at a snail’s pace for whatever reason. As fortune would have it, he made it inside and called his wife to alert her to the good news.
“You can even get a chicken on credit if you want; I’ll come and pay for it once I get back,” he assured his sceptical wife.
He submitted his credentials to a lukewarm officer who advised him to wait for the next instructions on his phone. He lingered in the building waiting for that important message. It never came, of course! He decided to keep vigil within the mall like many others enduring the might on the cold floor. A good Samaritan somehow came to his aid by offering sweet potatoes and chibwantu……the only food he had to eat the last 2 days.
The queue seemed to move much faster this time around. In no time, we found ourselves inside where we were promptly attended to and dismissed. Shortly, I received the following message on my mobile phone, “Your Member verification request with reference 23041816818189531741666 has been received and a response will be provided within one (1) business day.”
“I hope it’s going to work out this time around,” my newly found friend from Kalulushi remarked as we made our way out.
I waited for about a week but to no avail. As I was about to go back to NAPSA and launch a complaint with the manager, I bumped into a friend from my college days. Immediately he learnt about my ordeal, he revealed that he might have a solution.
“I got mine within 3 days and I’ve ordered a vehicle for my wife from Japan!” he said, excitedly.
He introduced me to an agent in an internet cafe who claimed they worked with someone from NAPSA to facilitate payments.
“I can even put the phone on loud speaker and call the gentleman from NAPSA if you’re still in doubt,” the young lady offered.
After talking to the man from NAPSA whom I came to know as ba James, I hastily handed the lady my credentials and paid the required K600! And surely within a few hours, my credentials were verified successfully. And by Sunday morning, I was availed my log in details. I couldn’t all this was happening on a non working day!
Imagine 1000 people have to take this route to access their NAPSA money? This easily translates to K600, 000 cool cool cash in their pockets! Honestly, how long do we have to condone such illegalities? The situation is equally the same at RTSA and the Ministry of Lands where some civil servants deliberately clog the system to delay the process make you frustrated and leave you with little option but to try shortcuts.
If only cabinet ministers can frequently step out of their air-conditioned offices and venture into the field to investigate challenges affecting our people, solutions would be identified pronto as opposed to waiting for the situation to escalate.
Monday morning, I intend to storm the office of the Regional Manager to register my displeasure. I equally hope to call upon on ACC and file a complaint as I consider it as my solemn responsibility to help government succeed in delivering to the full expectations of our people.