Gov’t will not be stampeded; Haruna tells NAGRAT

Labour Minister Haruna Iddrisu has served notice government will not be stampeded by labour into taking decisions that will adversely affect the public purse.

He told Joy News Editor Dzifa Bampoh government is ready to dialogue with aggrieved teachers but will not succumb to pressure from them.

His comments come at time when members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) have threatened to go on strike over unpaid arrears.

NAGRAT is just as angry with the delays in the arrears as they are with the Minister of Education, Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, whom they accuse of disappointing teachers.

NAGRAT President, Christian Addae-Poku, at a press conference on Thursday minced no words in criticizing the minister and articulating the grievances of the teachers.

“We are stating the realities on the ground. Since our minister came into office teachers were so happy to see our own, that is somebody who has been a teacher herself and actually has trained teachers. We were expecting her to be able to appreciate our problems better and solve them,” said Addae-Poku.

Also, he said, the minster has not even been able to initiate even a single policy that is geared towards motivating teachers, enhancing teachers’ welfare or making sure that teachers have peace of mind to be able to do their work.

“All her concentration has been on supervision. Yes supervision is important but that is not all that is needed to be able to provide results,” added Addae-Poku.

“The threats are not the best way to deal with adults. We are all adults.

There is a better way to deal with us than to always go on radio and say that I will sack you and demote you when you know that there are more problems causing the downfall of education than just poor supervision,” he said.

The NAGRAT President also criticized the way the Comptroller and Accountant General’s office has handled the teachers’ situation.

According to him, even though the Comptroller has certified some 4000 out of a total of 14,000 teachers to be paid their arrears, some officials at Comptroller called other teachers who were not in the initial list, with promises to include them in the 4000 list if they were to part with some money.

He said in a meeting with the Labour Ministry the agreement was for the Comptroller to provide in seven days, the list of teachers certified for payment and actual payment made so far, so that if there is some discrepancy, they will know exactly where the problem is coming from.

It has been four months now and the Comptroller has not provided the information, he stated, adding, “if they have nothing to hide why are they refusing to give us the list they have sworn to provide?”

In a reaction the Labour Minister said NAGRAT’s attack on the substantive minister of Education was unfortunate and regrettable.

“To say she has done virtually nothing is not a matter they can win in any objective court,” he indicated.

Addressing the concerns of the teachers, the minister said there was a new government policy to strengthen pay roll control and to eliminate pay roll fraud.

Under that policy, the Auditor General has the mandate to audit all new appointments cleared and go through a proper validation process.
According to him, only 6,000 were cleared with the 8,000 still being subjected to thorough scrutiny.

He said they are committed to the road map which will allow the Auditor General to go through the validation process after which monies due the teachers will be paid.

Source: Daily Graphic

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