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General News of Monday, 19 February 2018

Source: XYZ

Government owes us GHC100 million - NAGRAT

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has revealed that the salary arrears and allowances government owes its members amount to hundred million cedis.

This revelation was made by NAGRAT’s vice president, Jacob Anaba, when he was speaking to Kofi Oppong Asamoah on the Morning Xpress on Monday morning following a warning the teachers had issued to government to pay the arrears.

The teacher body had earlier mentioned about GHC50 million as the amount owed its members, but Mr Anaba said the monies that should be paid to the teachers “is about GHC100 million” which he said was “monies due teachers.”

He said the amount was not related to only allowances owed them but salary arrears as well, and intensified calls on government to pay them before the end of March as they had already stated.

Asked why they had to wait for the arrears to accumulate to that level, Mr Anaba said the situation compounded when the previous government decided to pay only three months of salaries owed teachers regardless the number of months it owed them.

“They could not do that and there was always arrears . . . That is what has caused all these,” he said.

The Finance Ministry, he said, kept on delaying in giving financial clearance to the Controller and Accountancy-General’s Department to pay new recruits of the Ghana Education Service (GES), whose accumulated salaries have added to the amount government is expected to pay before April 2018.

New Ultimatum

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), last week, vowed not to entertain any excuses from the government regarding the payment of salary arrears and allowances of its members in the country.

The association gave government up to March 30 to settle the debts that have accumulated from vehicle maintenance allowances, transfer grants, transport and travel allowances, since 2013.

In a statement from NAGRAT on February 15, the association said: “We have watched in disbelief, the wanton disrespect for teachers and the incessant termination or abandoning of promises, pledges and memorandum regarding the payment of arrears.”

The statement indicated that despite the promises made by the government, and the fact that government stated in its 2017 budget to pay those arrears, it “has reneged on that promise”.

“The patience of Teachers has been stretched to its elastic limit and will break sooner than later,” said NAGRAT in the statement.

According to the Council, “per the agreement reached with Government, acting through the Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance, and the Teacher Unions on 12th January 2018, no further excuses will be tolerated”, warning that NAGRAT will “advise itself if the arrears are not paid by 30th of March, 2018”.

But on Monday, the NAGRAT’s vice president said government has no excuse to postpone the payment of their three year old arrears which had already been captured in the 2017 budget.

“Government had already indicated and the (Education) minister gave us the assurance that they were going to pay so I don’t know why they should turn around to say they can’t pay,” he said.