Teacher unions in the country have given the Controller & Accountant General's Department (CAGD) up to Friday, February 26, 2021 to pay monies due teachers into the Ghana Education Service Occupational Pension Scheme (GESOPS) else they will advise themselves.
According to the unions, made up of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers -Ghana (CCT-GH), their checks with GESOPS Board revealed that for the past four consecutive months, the CAGD had not remitted monies due teachers to the scheme, thus denying them their fringe benefits under the scheme.
“The deducted contributions have still not hit our accounts! We the teacher unions see this action by the CAGD as a deliberate attempt to stifle us of our legitimate earnings. and nobody seems to care, and this is ironical.
“Consequently, we hereby serve this notice, that if by the close of work on Friday, February 26, 2021 the full amount indebted to our scheme is not paid we cannot restrain our members and whatever happens in the industrial environment, the CAGD should blame itself,” a statement issued in Accra said.
It was signed by the General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Musah; the President of NAGRAT, Mr Eric Agbe Carbonu, and the President of CCT-Gh, Mr King Awudu Ali.
The statement said following the failure of the CAGD to remit the monies deducted from teachers to the GESOPS, it wrote to the acting Minister of Finance, and copied to other personalities, including the acting Minister of Education and sounded the warning that “if our deducted contributions were not paid into the GESOPS Accounts by close of day, Monday, February 8, 2021, we the teacher unions would have no option than to advise ourselves, and the CAGD would have itself to blame!! (With emphasis!).
“As of Tuesday, February 16, 2021 not only has the CAGD ignored our legitimate concerns but sadly treated them with contempt,” it said.
It said the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766, with Amendment (Act 883) established the GESOPS, and defined it as a pension scheme that was work-based, established under a trust which provided benefits in the form of lump sum payable on termination of service, death or retirement, among other things.
“Section 96(2) states that the contribution shall be remitted by the employer within 14 days from the end of each month. These are the stipulations guiding the existence and running of the occupational pension scheme, christened 'Tier-2' under the 3-Tier pension arrangement now in operation in Ghana.
“Indeed, the GESOPS is a tier-2 scheme, with all the relevant stipulations of the National Pensions Act. 2008, Act 766, with Amendment (Act 883) applying to it. In this wise, all the rules and regulations covering Act, 2008. and for that matter, the GESOPS, must be strictly adhered to,” it said.
The statement said Section 64 (1) of the Act charges that if a contribution was not paid within the specified period “ a sum equal to three per centum per month of the contribution payable shall be added to the contribution as a penalty. This has been the state of affairs all this while until recent times when things seem to be grinding to a halt, and teacher unions would not stand or sit aloof, and watch this happen.”