GES, GNAT tango over payment of rent by teachers, staff

The management of the Ghana Education Service says it fully endorsed the letter issued by its Western Regional Director asking teachers and staff occupying government bungalows to pay rent.

According to the GES, it was aware of recent public discussions of a letter issued by its Western Regional Director of Education on the need for teachers and employees of the service to pay rent.

A statement issued by the service in Accra yesterday and signed by the Head of the Public Relations Unit, Ms Cassandra TwunAmpofo said that was to avoid future audit queries and subsequent appearance before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on the subject.

Consequently, it said a directive had been issued to all cost centre Managers to be guided by the Ministry of Finance circular on the issue of rent on staff occupying government bungalows so long as that circular remains valid and enforceable.

She explained that for some time now, external auditors had raised queries on the issue of rent paid by some staff of GES occupying government bungalows as official accommodation.

 “In the 2018 Auditors General’s Report on Audit of Pre-Tertiary institutions, the issue was raised and the GES was summoned to appear before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on the subject,” she said.

 The statement further said in the specific case of Western Region, one of the institutions was queries for charging staff inadequate rent for occupying government bungalows of the school, stressing that “The Auditors referred to the Ministry of Finance’s circular No. 133385/05/06 NTR CAGD on 15th May 2006, which indicated bungalows were required to pay 10 percent of their basic salary as rent.”

The management said the Western Regional Director’s letter on 11th March 2022, was based on the recommendations of External Auditors and the directives of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament that GES should charge the appropriate rent on staff occupying government bungalows.

She said in order to avoid further audit queries which culminate in summons before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on the subject, the Director-General had directed all cost centre Managers of the service to be guided by the Ministry of Finance’s circular and charge the appropriate rent of 10 percent on the basic salary of staff who occupy government bungalows as official accommodation.

“Management of GES wishes to reiterate that it is not the GES which is imposing the rent or determining how much is to be paid but purely being guided by the Ministry of Finance’s Circular and the admonitions of the public Accounts Committee of Parliament,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Ghana National Association of Teaches (GNAT) has vowed to resist any attempt to implement the directive.

A press statement issued in Accra by the GNAT and signed by its General Secretary, Thomas Musah said any attempt to implement the said directive would be resisted fiercely.

The statement said the GES must avert its attention to Section 19 of the collective agreement,  August 2020, which dealt with staff accommodation.

“We therefore wonder whether if it is a deliberate, calculated attempt by the GES to renege on stipulations in the Collective Agreement, and if it is, caution that it would not hold, since it is both a breach of Union trust, and an unfair labour decision/practice,” it said.

The GNAT said it found the directive unfortunate, and was dismayed at it, since it was against the spirit and letter of the Collective Agreement enacted between the service and teacher unions in the Education Service.

BY CLIFF EKUFUL

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