POTAG rebuts claims government does not owe lecturers

Polytechnic lecturers in Ghana have rebutted claims by the Deputy Minister In-Charge of Tertiary Education that government does not owe them any research and book allowance.

The Deputy Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa stressed at a press conference yesterday, that government did not owe lecturers any allowance.

‘Let me state from the onset that as we speak, Government of Ghana does not owe salaries; does not owe allowances of lecturers. The book and research allowance is paid once a year; only once a year, at the end of the academic year,’ he said.

Okudzeto Ablakwa continued that ‘Last year, for the 2012/2013 academic year, the book and research allowance was paid in September, more specifically on the 30th of September, 2013. It is unfortunate and regrettable that POTAG decided to pull out, declared a strike for an allowance which is not due. By May when they declared this strike, this allowance was not due. It is paid once a year,’ he added.

Okudzeto Ablakwa added that government was not in arrears, indicating that the book and research allowance has always, for more than 10 years been paid at the end of the academic year but the POTAG president disagreed.

POTAG President, James Dugrah, said the deputy minister’s claims were untrue. ‘It’s not true, it’s a lie,” he told Joy News Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Dugrah later explained to Myjoyonline.com that government owed each member of the Association GHc400 and $1,500 as research and book allowance respectively.

This year’s allowance, he indicated, has not yet been paid, the reason for which members of the association are on strike.

He explained that the payment schedule used to be in February and was later moved to May/June.

According to him, the academic year ends in June and that, the September pay they received last year was for the 2012/2013 academic year. 

POTAG members have laid down their teaching tools for over a month now due to the non-payment of their six-month book and research allowance owed them by government. 

The strike has entered its 8th week. Polytechnic students have said that academic performance would be badly affected due to the strike action by the lecturers.

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