The Ghana Education Service (GES) says it has verified and fully paid every teacher and every member of staff of the service who deserve the legacy arrears.
The last tranche of payment was made in December last year to 1,200 members of staff.
It, however, said that management, after further checks on some 2,558 members of staff whose eligibility was contested, had approved payment to them and so they were being processed by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) for payment.
The legacy arrears span the period 2012 to 2016 when staff of the GES who were employed were paid only three months’ remuneration and asked to justify why they were due for the rest.
The Ministry of Finance, at the time, explained that the measure was to ensure that only qualified persons received salaries from government coffers because ‘ghost names’ on the payroll were estimated to be very high.
The Director-General of the GES, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, in an interview in Accra yesterday, said out of the 97,791 applications received for final audit for the legacy arrears, 83,763 were validated as being owed and the beneficiaries paid in full, explaining that “this represents a 100 per cent payment of all validated claims”.
What GNAT said
The explanation by the GES comes barely a week after the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) appealed to its rank and file across the country to remain calm as it tried to sort out the payment of the legacy arrears issue with the GES.
It said so far no teacher had been paid the legacy arrears, and that it was in constant touch with the GES to trash out the issue of the actual number of teachers who were to benefit from the arrears.
“The GES is saying that the number of people we say have not been paid the arrears is outrageous, but we are saying that these are the people who are saying they have not been paid. In fact, last week, we met and the GES said it would come out with a letter outlining the procedure to get this thing clarified,” the General Secretary of GNAT, Mr. Thomas Musah, had told the Daily Graphic in Accra last Friday.
However, the GES expressed surprise and disbelief when it learnt that the General Secretary of GNAT had said no teacher had been paid the legacy arrears.
“It is the view of the management of the GES that the statement that no teacher has been paid the legacy arrears is not true and could not have been put out by the General Secretary of GNAT,” the director-general said.
A statement issued by the GES said in February 2020, the ministries of Finance, Employment and Labour Relations and Education, the GES, the CAGD, the Audit Service, and the various unions in the pre-tertiary education space met with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to deliberate on the issue of legacy debt.
The pre-tertiary education unions at that meeting were GNAT, the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ghana (CCT-GH) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU).
“At that meeting, the President directed that the various factions should reconcile the figures to facilitate the payments, if any.
“The GES received the data of the 14,028 people, being the outstanding figure from the total applications received from the CAGD,” it explained.
It added that the management of the GES contended that only 2,558 out of the 14,028 had then not been paid and had subsequently been sent to the CAGD to be processed for payment, “and the unions have been duly informed”.
It said the unions, however, submitted 4,881 as their verified members, adding: “These facts are perfectly known to the General Secretary of GNAT and, therefore, the statement attributed to him that ‘so far no teacher has been paid the legacy arrears’ cannot come from him.”
The management of the GES said it had requested that teachers whose names were on the list who could justify that they were entitled to be paid legacy arrears to submit details to their respective regional/district directorates of Education,” the statement said.
It listed the details to include appointment letters, the assumption of duty letters and first pay slips, while those whose legacy arrears related to promotion were to provide promotion letters and pay slips on which the first salaries on the promoted grade were paid.
“This approach has become necessary because the data available to the GES do not justify the payment of the legacy arrears to such people,” Prof. Opoku-Amankwa explained, and expressed the hope that the measure would set the records straight and bring finality to the legacy arrears issue.