Christian Addai-Poku – NAGRAT President
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has asked for a month extension to allow its members the opportunity to biometrically register with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
According to NAGRAT, there has never been an occasion where its members were told that the Controller and Accountant General was going to use data from SSNIT as the basis for payment of salaries.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, last week ordered the removal of about 26,589 names of public workers from the government’s payroll.
Those affected, according to the Ministry, have not been registered on the new SSNIT biometric system, despite several directives to do so.
Mr. Ofori Atta on February 10 2017 requested the Controller and Accountant General to inform all public servants on the government’s mechanized payroll system who had not registered in the SSNIT biometric system to do so by the end of February, warning that salaries of unregistered workers would be suspended indefinitely until they have completed their SNNIT re-registration.
Commenting on the development Tuesday on Morning Starr, the President of NAGRAT, Christian Addae Poku said the move by the Finance Ministry is unwarranted, arguing that SNNIT is a different entity from the Controller and Accountant General Department.
The Controller and Accountant General Department, he said, pays teachers first before SNNIT gets its contributions from the teachers thus using SSNIT data to delete names from the payroll “we see it as putting the cart before the horse”.
According to him, the Finance Minister’s directive to the Controller and Accountant General to suspend payment of salaries of teachers yet to register biometrically with SSNIT is not right, especially when there was no prior warning.
He said the practice over the years has been that before such directives are issued, meetings are held between the unions and the Ghana Education Service and other stakeholders to educate them in order for smooth execution and cooperation.
“…Then, we will also go ahead and inform our members,” he told Morning Starr host Francis Abban Tuesday, adding that in that case “we are trying to help everybody.”
But the government’s claim that it is not going to pay salaries of teachers because they are not on SNNIT biometric register “sounds more punitive than being reparative.”
He thus pleaded for a month’s extension in order for those not captured on the biometric register to be able to register.