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General News of Monday, 15 May 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Apology accepted, now pay salaries – Workers union tells gov’t

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says even though it accepts an apology from the Finance Minister, the ministry must quickly pay salaries of members whose names were mistakenly deleted from the payroll.

Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson said they are waiting for the monies to hit the account of those affected in the next couple of hours.

“At that point then we can say if we are completely satisfied or otherwise,” he said, noting GMA members nationwide were affected.

According to him, although the different banks have their own schedules in crediting accounts if by Friday they don’t receive their salaries as promised by government, they will decide their next line of action.

Dr. Yankson said it will be unfair to ask doctors to go through another round of registration.

On May Day, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the country has saved GHC443 million following the Finance Ministry's suspension of salary payment to some 26,589 public workers in April 2017.

He said the comprehensive payroll audit conducted by the Ministry within the last two months has purged the system of ghost names and saved the nation some money.

According to him, the country spent GHC36,166,203 per month to maintain the 26,589 ghost workers on government payroll.

“These 'workers' have not come forward to be biometrically verified by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), despite numerous calls by the Controller and Accountant General to do so," he said.

There was uproar after 26000 government workers were denied their salaries for April for their failure to undergo biometric registration.

Many disputed their ghost status with some worker unions threatening to go to court.

Speaking at the National Policy forum Ken Ofori Atta regretted the error and promised to fix the problem.

“Quite a number of people were taken off the payroll [and] we’ve had remarks from some unions. We know that there’s some rot in there, we have to take an action and in the process of taking an action a few wrong eggs would be broken and we should apologise for that,” the Minister told the gathering.

He revealed that he had found out that some of the affected persons are staff of his own Ministry.

“Going through the numbers I actually found one or two of the Directors at Ministry of Finance have been included in that list they don’t exist. So there are mistakes…”

Nonetheless, he said the exercise is a useful one and must be supported by all Ghanaians.

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) told Joy News they are requesting the Finance Ministry to convene a stakeholder meeting so together the situation will be audited to rectify the anomalies.

NAGRAT Vice-President, Angel Kabonu said so far only 5000 of the 13,000 of the members affected have been paid which points to a fundamental error in the registration system.

“We took delivery of the list, we did some auditing and we are very disappointed that in spite of the understanding we had with the Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng that by May 15, those affected will be paid, the payments have not been done"

Mr Karbuno said some teachers are worried about the situation and “people could die out of this.”

“This whole exercise looks as if there is a rush and a whole lot of mistakes have been done. We need to quickly call it off and do a proper work if indeed there are ghosts in the system,” he said.

He said NAGRAT would be officially writing to the Finance Ministry on Tuesday about convening the meeting.

No going back

In reaction to the claims by NAGRAT, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng said SSNIT promised the Finance Ministry of resolving issues with workers who had problems with their payroll numbers by May 15.

He said considering that members of some unions got their pay, heads of the respective unions need to get back to the ministry on any unresolved issues.