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02.08.2013 General News

Government releases GH¢25m to lecturers

By Daily Graphic
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The Controller and Accountant-General will start paying the GH¢25 million arrears owed to lecturers and other staff of public universities from today.

The market premium arrears resulted from the migration of university lecturers onto the Singe Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

''It is hoped that members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) will see the money reflect in their accounts from today, or early next week,'' a Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mr Ibrahim Murtala Muhammed, said.

Members of UTAG last week threatened to embark on a strike from yesterday,  August 1, 2013, if the government failed to respect an agreement on the payment schedule of 2012 market premium arrears.

UTAG said although its members had respected their side of the agreement that was concluded during the negotiation process after their earlier strike some months ago, the government had not been forthcoming on its responsibilities.

Members of UTAG called off the 13-day strike last April after a meeting with the government and other stakeholders. They reached an agreement that their arrears from 2012 would be paid in a four-month instalment package from April to July 2013.

Briefing journalists at the Flagstaff House in Accra yesterday, Mr Muhammed denied that the release of the money was a panic reaction to UTAG's threat to embark on strike.

He said the processes for the payment to the UTAG members had begun long before the threat.

In another development, President John Dramani Mahama was scheduled to meet the Chairman of the University of Ghana Council, Prof.  Justice Samuel Date-Bah; the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, and a former Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Clifford Tagoe.

The meeting, according to the deputy minister, would focus on measures to be taken to improve tertiary education in the country.

The President and the authorities of the University of Ghana will also deliberate on how to absorb the huge number of senior high school (SHS) graduates for the  2013/2014 academic year.

Mr Muhammed said the huge number of SHS graduates for the 2013/2014  academic year was as a result of the two sets of SHS graduates - students who did three years and those who did four years.

Therefore, he said, President Mahama wanted a quick solution to absorbing the huge number of SHS graduates in all public universities.

 By Musah Yahaya Jafaru/Daily Graphic/Ghana

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