The Ministry of Education has expressed shock at the planned nationwide strike by the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT).
NAGRAT has threatened to lay down their tools by May 16 if government fails to pay them their 2011/ 2012 increment credit arrears.
NAGRAT has tried several efforts to get government to transfer the contributions of the Ghana Education Service (GES) employees’ share of the pension contributions into the occupational Pension Scheme to be managed by a private fund.
Their efforts have however proved futile, as government has failed to transfer the contributions after four years of deductions.
The teachers have also raised concerns about what they say is the poor handling of their second tier pension scheme and the non-payment of transfer grants.
But the Head of Public Relations at the Education Ministry, Paul Krampah says the Ministry is already in talks with NAGRAT over their demands and so it surprising that the latter has decided to strike.
“Most of the issues they raised are issues being addressed by the Ministry in consultation with its stakeholders,” he said.
He further stated that the Education Ministry cannot be blamed for the delay since the Ministry does not have the mandate to pay salaries.
“The Ministry has not got the mandate to pay the salaries of its employees. The issues relating to payment of arrears actually fall directly under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry and what we as a Ministry have been doing is to facilitate the release of funds from the Finance Ministry for the payment to be directed,” he explained.
Commenting on the delay in the payment of the second tier of the teachers’ scheme, Mr. Krampah disclosed that the Education Ministry had written to the Finance Ministry to release funds for the payment.
“Talking about the GES Pension Scheme, the second tier, we have heard about it and what we did as a Ministry was to write to the Controller Accountant Department and the Finance Ministry to actually pay the arrears into the coffers of the scheme so all that we can do is to ensure that those who are responsible for the payment actually perform their duty. We don’t have the mandate to actually make the payment,” he clarified.
By: Marian Efe Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana