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17.08.2004 General News

Minister sticks to explanation for salary cuts

By GNA

Accra, Aug. 17, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Tuesday said he stood by the reasons the Ministry gave for cutting salaries of some workers in July this year.

The Minister, who was answering question after he briefed Journalists on disbursement of Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Funds for 2004 said that the views of some politicians and those held by a section of the public that the Government had deceived the Donor Community was not true.

He explained that after the Government realised the mistake in overpayments of the salary increases, there was the need to correct the error and informed some of the Donor Community members, who contributed to the budget out of which personal emoluments were taken.

Members of the National Democratic Congress Party (NDC) on Monday held a press conference at which it was alleged that the Ministry cut the salaries for other reasons.

The Government increased salaries of some workers in June but the amounts were revised downwards in July.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning explained that the reduction in the July salaries for some workers was due to a correction of a technical error that resulted in overpayment of approved salaries for the period.

A statement by the Ministry on August 4, 2004 said the error occurred because the outdated IPPD 1 Computer Payroll System of the Accountant-General's Department could not detect that payments for June had far exceeded the approved figures for 2004.

The statement said the Government in May this year, negotiated and arrived at a new salary structure for Civil Servants, Teachers, Medical Staff and Staff of the Judicial Service, using statistical inputs of the total number of employees and their salaries as at March 2004.

The negotiations and the resultant salary structure were concluded against the background of the 2004 budget that was approved by Parliament in March, this year.

"However, payments made for June had far exceeded the agreed figures and showed that there had been an error in the Accountant-General's Department which was not detected due to the outdated IPPD I Computer Payroll System in the Department".

The statement said this was obviously a technical error, which had to be corrected by a cut back to bring the figure within the approved budget.

The statement said it was to correct this error that the Government directed that adjustments should be made to take effect from July 2004, thereby absorbing the overpayments made.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said after seeking approval for spending on personal emoluments of an amount, which had far exceeded its target; it was also necessary to inform the bilateral donors in writing of the error that had occurred.

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