A final date for the payment to private school teachers their post Ebola US$2.5 million remains undecided as the processes are stringent to the extent that other financial management systems have to be put into place, Deputy Education Minister for Administration, now Acting Minister, Aagon F. Tingba, explained.
He said authorities at the Ministry of Education (MOE) have expedited processes to fast track the payment of the post Ebola money intended for private school teachers but authorities at the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), Internal Audit System, and the Civil Service Agency (CSA) have to coordinate properly before implementing the disbursement.
In a Daily Observer exclusive interview yesterday at his office, Mr. Tingba said when the George Werner-led administration took over in June, the payment process was already in progress, “but we decided to match the list of teachers from the various schools to the CSA’s list because some of the teachers are suspected of teaching in both private and public schools. So we have to reconcile the payroll of about 35,000 of them before going ahead with the payments.”
In the main time, he said the number has been reduced from 35,000 to at least 31,000. The list has already been submitted to authorities of the Incidence Management System (IMS).
Minister Tingba quoted the head of the IMS as saying that the number of teachers recorded was huge considering the amount allotted by partners for the payout.
“Again, following some scrutiny of the list, we discovered that some of the names were duplicated because some of the teachers are reportedly teaching, but are not assigned to any of the over 2000 private schools. Some of them are said to be teaching in both private and public schools. As we speak, verification of the list is ongoing by MOE’s Internal Auditing Team in line with the IMS,” Minister
He said it was recommended that payment to the school systems be made directly to the schools’ secretariats through check for the total number of teachers and support staff across the country based upon a Memorandum of Understanding reached between the respective school systems, MOE and Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
The school systems, he added, will be required prior to the payment process to provide proof of payment to individual teachers through payment receipt forms indicating the names of teachers or staff.
In a recommended scenario, the payment scheme has been put into various categories. For example, according to Minister Tingba, teachers holding terminal degrees would receive the amount of at least LD13,000, those with Master’s degrees will be entitled to LD12,500, while those holding Bachelor’s degrees will take home about LD10,000 and so forth until the list is absorbed.
The money, he said is being exchanged to Liberian dollars at the official rate of LD84 to US$1 as set by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for easy disbursement.
Minister Tingba has meanwhile expressed gratitude to the teachers for their patience and understanding as the various segments of government take time to handle the payment of the money, which may eventually take place before celebrations marking this year’s July 26 Independence anniversary.
He called on them to bear a little bit more patience as those authorities concerned go about the validation exercise by doing spot checks of the more than 31,000 teachers.