BY STEPHEN ODOI LARBI
THE GOVERNMENT has released an amount of GH¢35 million to pay the arrears owed trainee nurses across the country, according to the Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide.
This comes on the back of mounting pressure on the Ministry of Health to pay arrears of nursing trainee allowances.
In an interview, the Deputy Minister of Information confirmed that the Controller and Accountant General had released the said amount out of the almost GH¢60 million that is spent quarterly on the payment of trainee allowances.
He assured the public that the outstanding GH¢25 million would be released in due course, explaining further that all final year students would be paid the three months arrears comprising April, May and June, whereas trainee nurses currently pursuing their programmes would receive one month arrears with outstanding two months to be cleared shortly.
“I expect that by next week trainees would be smiling to the banks or wherever to receive their allowances. I am impressed with their candor and I ask them to remain calm as [the] government is moving at jet speed to resolve all challenges and to get Ghana working again after several years of mismanagement,” Mr Hadzide said.
The Deputy Minister added that processes were far advanced for new trainees admitted to training schools recently to receive their allowances in due course.
The Akufo-Addo government, in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential elections, promised to restore the teacher and nurses trainee allowances scrapped by the government of the day, a promise that was fulfilled in September 2017.
The delay in the payment of the allowances has been mainly due to the fact that the allowances were treated as a statutory payment, which is done quarterly.
This meant that the payment of the allowances was made at the beginning of the subsequent quarter, a situation which affected the timely release of monies to the trainees.
The Government, in an attempt to resolve the delay and prevent further agitations among the trainees, has directed that the allowance be migrated from the statutory payments to the salaries and emoluments system.
This will ensure that the allowances would now be paid monthly through the Controller and Accountant General.
This, according to Mr Hadzide, when fully completed, would put to rest the issue of delayed payment.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, upon assuming office in 2017, kept his promise and restored the allowances effective September 2017 to the joy of the trainee nurses who had complained about the hardships they faced without those funds.
The Government is optimistic the migration of the allowances from statutory payments unto the salaries and emoluments payment system will ensure uninterrupted training experience for the trainee nurses in the country.