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11.03.2009 Education


By Alfred Adams Takoradi - Ghanaian Chronicle

SOME Teachers in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, who applied for loans under the Ghana National Association of Teachers Fund (GNATFund), are fuming with rage over wrongful deductions being made from their monthly salaries.

The teachers, numbering ten, who spoke to this reporter in separate interviews, expressed concern over the situation. According to the teachers, though they had drawn the attention of the GNATFund to the wrongful deductions from their monthly salaries, the Secretariat had not shown any sign of correcting the anomaly.

They have, therefore, vowed to withdraw from contributing to the fund, if nothing was done to correct the anomaly, and as well reimburse them for the monies deducted.

They showed this reporter copies of their pay slips, which showed that the deductions had been made. The Ghana National Association of Teachers Fund was set up in 1998, and started with monthly deductions of GH10p from the salaries of members. Presently, the basic contribution of members stands at GH¢25.00, with members having the option of making higher contributions.

On 1st February 1999, a formal document, in the form of a Trust Deed, was signed between the GNAT and the Board of Trustees of the Teachers Fund. The Board of Trustees of the Fund is made up of fifteen members, including teacher's representatives from the ten regions.

The main objective of the Fund, among others, was to supplement the retirement benefits of members, provide financial relief, and as well provide capital funding for part-time income generating activities to members.

On procedure for the accessing and repayment of loans, a member who applied for a minimum of GH¢500, has a period of two years to make re-payments, and would have GH¢40 deducted from the monthly salary. The complaining teachers, however, said this procedure was not applied to them.

Another teacher, who did not want to be named, also confessed to this reporter that he applied for a GH¢500 loan from the Secretariat of the Fund in December 2007.

By the terms of repayment, according to him, he had a period of fourteen months to complete payment of the loan from his monthly salary, which would end in July this year.

But, according to the teacher, instead of the Secretariat deducting GH¢40 from his monthly salary, the Secretariat was rather deducting GH¢80.

“This is wrongful deduction, and I have up to July this year to finish payment. So what this means is that if the over deduction does not stop now, I will be making an over payment.”

According to the teacher, he had petitioned both the National Secretariat of the Fund, as well as the local GNAT Secretariat, but all had proved futile.

He, therefore, called on the government to intervene, to make sure that his balance was refunded.

Speaking in an interview, the Sekondi-Takoradi Secretary of GNAT, Mr. Isaac Bimpeh, confirmed to this reporter that he had received complaints from some teachers over wrongful and over-deductions from their monthly salaries, as a result of loan they applied for from the Fund.

According to Mr. Bimpeh, based on the complaints filed by the teachers, he wrote to the Secretariat of the Fund and the Accountant General's Office to correct the anomaly, and expressed the hope that the corrections would be done.