Accra, Feb. 8, GNA - Prof. George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Wednesday said the promise to pay the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) arrears within a period of five years was on course.
He said between 2003 and 2005, the Ministry had cleared a total amount of 161.7 billion cedis out of the cumulative total of 268.7 billion cedis arrears.
The Deputy Minister was responding to a question from Mr Francis Agbotse, NDC-Ho West, in Parliament on how much of the DACF arrears, which the Ministry promised to pay over five years, beginning from 2003, has been paid and when the balance would be paid.
"Mr Speaker, the Ministry, in 2003 indeed made a promise to pay the DACF arrears within a period of five years. This arrangement is on course," Prof. Gyan-Baffour said in Parliament.
He said the outstanding balance of 107 billion cedis would be cleared in "this fiscal year and the next, that is 2006 and 2007." In response to another question, the Deputy Minister said the Ghana Pensioners Association does not negotiate for any salary increases in monthly pension earnings for those on Cap 30 or teachers' pension ordinance because it had no bargaining right.
"Pensioners under SSNIT also do not bargain with SSNIT before changes in monthly pensions are effected too," the Deputy Minister said in answer to whether it was obligatory for the association to negotiate for salary adjustment for members anytime there was increase in the minimum wage.
He said pension earnings were not salaries, thus the association "could not be deemed to be negotiating for salary adjustment." "Changes in the minimum wage may affect monthly pension earnings under Cap 30, where the minimum wage adjustment leads to further negotiation to adjust salary levels for either those on the Ghana universal salary structure or the A range salary structure," Prof Gyan-Baffour added.
The Deputy Minister also responded to a question on spraying of cocoa in the Sefwi areas and said there was no serious threat of capsid attacks in the area.
He, however, said as in other black pod prevalent areas, "farmers whose farms are threatened by capsid attacks are advised to spray their farms against attacks from their own resources."
He said cocoa farmers have been educated on the need to lend their support to the national cocoa diseases and pest control programme. Mr Herod Cobbina, NDC-Sefwi Akontombra, had asked about plans to include cocoa farmers in the Sefwi areas in the mass cocoa spraying exercise, since the prices of insecticide had doubled and the farmers could not buy enough of the chemical to spray their farms.