The Ministry of Finance has approved the payment of Book and Research Allowance for the 2014/2015 academic year to lecturers of public universities and polytechnics.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Francis Gbadago, said the approval would facilitate the payment of the allowance as soon as possible.
He, therefore, called on the lecturers, who were on strike to press home their demand, to end their action and resume work this month when tertiary institutions reopen.
According to him, the Education Ministry received the approval yesterday and had communicated it to the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) for onward action.
He explained that lecturers were supposed to submit their claims to the council which would subsequently be presented to the Ministry of Finance for final payment.
Mr. Gbadago declined to state the total amount of the allowance saying, “we cannot give a total amount now because the claims would have to go through auditing by the Auditor General before we can arrive at a specific figure”.
“Last year, government paid GH¢30 million as Book and Research Allowance to the lecturers. Therefore, the total amount could be less or higher this year depending on the claims,” he said.
On the issue of the National Research Fund to be established by the government to replace the allowance, Mr. Gbadago said plans were underway to ensure its establishment.
According to him, the ministry was hopeful that the fund would be established soon, since the Finance Ministry has given the exchange rate.
UTAG yesterday declared an indefinite strike over the Book and Research Allowance for the 2014/2015 academic year.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times in Accra last Thursday, the president of University of Ghana UTAG, Dr. Langbong Bimi, said the association took the action because attempts to retrieve the allowance from government had not yielded any positive response.
He said the decision was taken at a meeting held last Wednesday at the University Of Education, Winneba, where members of the association unanimously agreed to embark on the strike until the government made the payment.
According to him, UTAG had written to the government severally, but the government had not taken any concrete steps or acknowledged receipt of the numerous letters on their 2014/2015 Book & Research Allowance.
By Charles Amankwa