It is quite enigmatic and seems very difficult to demystify the exact issues trending around the payment of salaries for veterinary house officers who completed their housemanship training in July this year. However, we have some information to share with the general public. The first ever locally trained veterinary surgeons graduated to join a housemanship training programme designed by the Veterinary Council of Ghana in September 2015.
It is admitted that these house officers were made to start their housemanship training without an establishment being created in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to that effect. It should also be added that no financial clearance had been ascertained and approved by the Ministry of Finance before these veterinary surgeons were put on the field to serve their country.
Interesting enough, these house officers received their offer of appointment letters (Ref. No. TMD/03/12/v.2/63) in July 2016 signed by the Chief Director of MOFA, Ing. J. K. Boamah on May the 12, 2016 with attached salary scale of 19L. On the contrarily, the Fair Wages and Salary Commission had agreed on an 18L salary grade (without Premium) for the veterinary housemanship establishment and issues that ensued elicited a number of uprising but has been resolved at the moment.
However, what Oilcitytodoay News finds as more or less irregular is the fact that these veterinary doctors are receiving a salary grade about a step below their sister Medical house officers in Ghana Health service despite the numerous resolutions that had hitherto been accepted to put medical doctors and veterinary doctors at par in terms of salary except for some special allowances of which a letter written by the Deputy Secretary of the then Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of the PNDC government in 1991, K. B. Amissah-Arthur, the current Vice President of the Republic of Ghana affirms and again, of course, was corroborated by the Single Spine Salary Scheme of 2012.
In fact, a letter of the reference No. ERFD/12/SAL1 from the Ministry of Finance, dated 10th of January 2012 to the President of Ghana Veterinary Medical Association about the Scheme of Service of Veterinary Doctors with respect to the Single Spine Salary Scheme emphasizes the parity in Salary grade/ scale between medical doctors and veterinary doctors at all levels of establishments with 100% and 80% premiums respectively. These veterinary doctors will be receiving their salaries without the premium though.
Notwithstanding the above, information reaching Oilcitytoday News has it that these veterinary doctors have not been paid although their housemanship came to an end in July 2016 and even if they will be paid their arrears will have effective date of implementation from February 2016 instead of September 2015 albeit the directive from the Ministry of Finance concerning the payment of their salaries stated otherwise. In a letter written by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, Major (RTD) M. S. Tara, with Ref. No. B/CMU/2016/FC06 dated July the 22, 2016 stated unequivocally that, the effective date for implementation of payment of the salaries for these veterinary doctors was 21st September 2015 and that the Ministry’s (MOF) directive on payment of arrears not exceeding 3 months was not applicable in their instance. In fact, the urgency attached to the above letter also directed the payment of their arrears in two (2) installments.
As to whether the directive from the Ministry of Finance will be upheld to is another matter of interest and it is believed that someone somewhere has the interest to dupe these veterinary surgeons and use their salaries for their own gain. Anything about veterinary in this country has not been taken so seriously anyway, because we have it that not all the vehicles that were approved by the Parliament of the Republic Ghana to be given to the Veterinary Service Department in the combat of Bird Flu has been delivered to the department and that we still as a country live with bird flu with a recent incident not less than a month ago. Systems are not working, everything is a mystery now, and the country is getting sicker and sicker.
As we write, another batch of veterinary doctors have been enrolled on the housemanship programme and it seems their problems are even going to be worse. However, these veterinary doctors including those who just passed out of the housemanship training are still at post working for mother Ghana although they intend to resort to pickering very soon.