The Ministry of Finance yesterday directed the Controller and Accountant General to release over GH₵25 Million to pay the salary arrears of Lecturers and other staff of the public universities.
The directive is to ensure that the market premium arrears owed the university lecturers as a result of their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), are cleared, in accordance with the agreed payment schedule.
It covers arrears from January 2010 to March 2013.
The Ghanaian Times sighted letters ordering the payments to the various universities. Dated July 30, 2013 and signed by Cassel Ato Forson, a Deputy Minister of Finance, the letters authorizing the Controller and Accountant-General to release the monies to the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) for onward payment to the lecturers and other staff.
When contacted on the issue, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Education, confirmed the Finance Ministry’s authorization for the releases, saying the government was committed to ensuring that the arrears owed teachers were cleared.
“Government is determined not to allow labour agitations to disrupt the academic calendar,” he added.
Out of the total amount, over GH₵7 million will go to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to clear Single Spine Salary arrears owed senior members (Administrative and Professionals) covering January 2010 to March 2013.
Authorization has also been given for the release of some GH₵1.1 million for the payment of market premium arrears to academic senior members of the KNUST.
About GH₵3.2 million is also to be released to pay the market premium arrears for senior academic members of the university of Cape Coast, covering the period January 2012 to April 2013.
In addition, over GH₵400,000 would be released for Academic Clinical Consultant at the KNUST, covering the period of January 2013 to April 2013.
Also, about GH₵1.5 million will be released to pay market premium arrears of teachers in the University of Education Winneba, for the period January 2012 to April 2013, while those at University of Mines and Technology are getting GH₵666,720 to clear the arrears.
More than GH₵1.8 million is expected to be released to lecturers at the University of Development Studies (Main) for the period January 2012 to April 2013, while the University of Energy and Natural Resources is getting GH¢5,423.
According to reliable sources at the NCTE, apart from the University of Ghana Business School, the University of Ghana (Main) and its schools, and the University of Health and Allied Science have not submitted their claims, thus payment of their arrears cannot be made.
By the process, the requests for payment are made by an affected university to the NCTE, which then forwards it to the Ministry of Education for approval and onward submission to the Ministry of Finance for payment.
UTAG last week, threatened to embark on strike from August 1, if the government failed to respect an agreement regarding the payment schedule of 2012 market premium arrears by today.
According to the group, although its members had fulfilled their side of the agreement concluded during the negotiation process after their earlier strike, a couple of months ago, government had not been forthcoming on its responsibilities.
UTAG called off a 13-day strike last April, after a meeting with government and relevant stakeholders where they reached an agreement that their arrears from 2012 will be paid in a four-month installment package from April to July.