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General News of Saturday, 2 February 2008

Source: GNA

MDAs are to blame for payroll problems - AG

Ho, Feb 2, GNA - Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDS) are to blame for payroll problems, Mr Christian Sottie, Controller and Accountant General, said on Friday at a workers forum at Denu on Friday. "Preparation of pay rolls have been decentralized to MDAs that are supposed to key into the CAGD pool their individual pay rolls and encompass the data of their personnel to enable the department effect the necessary changes for payment but they were always found wanting," Mr Sottie said.

Participants were from the Ketu, Keta, Akatsi, North and South-Tongu districts. Issues addressed included disappearance of names on pay rolls, delays in salary payments, wrong posting and under payment of salaries. He said the Department has about 600,000 workers on its pay roll, including 100,000 pensioners, so huge a number that it normally did not touch or make any changes, except after salary increments, new employment or promotion increments. Mr Sottie reminded the MDAs that the department could not know the details of employees and could only make inputs provided to the Department.

He said the widespread distortions experienced with the salaries of health sector workers in 2006 were due to labour agitations in that sector and the subsequent pressure brought on the Department to pay the negotiated salaries with little room for cross checking of the payment inputs. Mr Sottie said equipment shortfall and the power situation last year also accounted for the delays. He appealed to MDAs and their workers to be quick in feeding the Department with problems they faced with their salaries to ensure quick redress.

Mr Sottie denied that teachers organized under the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) in other regions except the Volta Region were paid their October 2006 salaries after their industrial action.

He said the Department paid members of the Association based on a list provided by the GES. Mr Sottie said the delays in the payment of monthly pensions did not come from the CAGD but some banks that constantly delayed the payments.

"I wish I could advise the pensioners doing business with some particular banks noted for delaying their salaries on what to do." Mr Sottie appealed to workers to be abreast with the annual budget statements and said revenue expected from taxes this year stands at GHC4.7 billion, while request from MDAs stands GHc10.4 billion. Four institutions including the EC and the Judiciary are demanding GHc7.1 billion. Salaries and pensions account for GHc3.1 billion, about 60 percent of the expected revenue. Mr Sottie said expenditure approved by Parliament for the year was GHc 7.1 billion, which is higher than the expected revenue for the year and that government was looking for GHc853 million in loans and grants from its development partners to make up for the shortfall.

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