Health Minister-designate Vows to Absorb Health Workers on GOL Payroll

first_imgThe Minister of Health-designate, Dr. Bernice Dahn, has hit the ground running to make peace with health workers by vowing to do all in her capacity, if confirmed by the Senate, to absorb health workers into the Government’s payroll system.This has been one of the contentious issues between the Ministry of Health and the National Health Workers’ Association of Liberia (NHWAL). Health workers, through their president, Mr. Joseph Tamba, have said that they want all of their colleagues to be included on the payroll. More than 2000 public health workers are not on the GOL payroll although some of them receive other incentives.Dr. Dahn made the commitment when she officially closed the three-day Health System Assessment and Investment Plan Consensus Meeting, which was being held at the Paynesville City Hall.    The Minister-designate’s first public pronouncement, just hours after being appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was about the health workers who had threatened through their leadership to oppose her appointment. She would have to be confirmed by the Senate before performing the functions of the Health Minister-proper.Dr. Dahn, who has served as Deputy Minister for Health Services for the last eight years, requested Senator Dr. (MD) Peter S. Coleman and Representative Johnson Toe Chea to grant a team from the Ministry to convey to lawmakers the importance of putting more money into the health budget so that health workers can be included on government’s payroll.“We will do all we can to get them on the payroll. Even if it means sitting in hot offices at the Ministry just to get them on the payroll, that will be done. We are willing to make the sacrifices in order to get our health workers on the payroll,” Health Minister-designate Dahn assured everyone in the hall.As she left the stage, she received a standing ovation from the conferees, including international and local health partners.Dr. Dahn’s statement has been received in good faith by Mr. Joseph Tamba, president, NHWAL.  As his personal response, he stated, “I want to thank Dr. Dahn for this initiative. I look forward to see it coming to pass.” He, however, added that the health workers’ association was waiting to see what happens.Speaking earlier, Senator Dr. Peter Coleman said discussion on the issue of extra funding to put all the health workers on payroll is now going to be easy for him and other lawmakers who advocate for them (health workers) to their fellow lawmakers.Dr.  Coleman, a former Minister of Health and Social Welfare, further stated that the deadly Ebola virus disease has taught a lesson that there is a need to give health workers good pay.In his remarks, Rep. Johnson Toe Chea also reiterated the need for health workers to be adequately compensated in line with their jobs because their lives are always at risk.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

National Payment System being fast tracked – BoG

first_imgDespite criticismsNotwithstanding criticisms of the initiative, infrastructure that would allow for electronic payments under the new National Payment System are being put in place.This was expounded upon at a press conference at the Finance Ministry on Friday, where Bank of Guyana Governor Dr Gobind Ganga laid out his expectations for the project. It was pointed out by Ganga that the project was originally of a four-year duration.“The system is being put in place. This is a four-year project, but we’re hoping to complete this project in two years, and people start benefit,” Ganga, who was speaking on the sidelines of another Finance Ministry event, explained.The Governor explained that while there was an old payment system administered by the bank, it was an ineffective one. He expressed expectations that the new one being implemented would conform to international standards.“We had a payment system under the Bank of Guyana, but we didn’t have the power to ensure there could be electronic payments, digital signatures, etc. This Act recognises all of that, and makes it legal. For example, we will have more bank-to-bank transactions rather than the use of cheques. We will also reduce cash payments as we move forward. That is not to say that there is going to be an elimination of cash; cash will still be used, but we will be providing the infrastructure for electronic payments, and that will ensure that we have much more efficiency,” Ganga explained.“For example, if the Ministry of Finance has to pay vendors out there, instead of the vendor coming to the Ministry of Finance to collect a cheque, that payment will be done directly into his bank account. That will enhance transparency and good governance,” Ganga explained.PassageAn important bill in principle, much contention nevertheless attended the National Payment System Bill when it was passed earlier this month. Criticism had included concerns over the Bank of Guyana’s role as a regulator, and whether it had too much power.For instance, former Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Juan Edghill, had expressed concern over Clause 18 (2) of the bill, which allows the regulator to enter the premises of someone suspected of operating without a licence and carry out searches. Edghill urged the inclusion of stipulations that such searches can be carried out only after a warrant has been obtained.His successor in Government, Minister Jaipaul Sharma, had defended the bill in his presentation. For instance, Sharma noted that the Central Bank cannot revoke licences in a “willy-nilly” manner, but persons with grievances would instead be given time to defend their licences.Besides urging that the general public be educated about the new system, none of the Opposition entreaties found sympathetic ears on the Government side.The bill was eventually passed without any amendment.A National Payment System (NPS) is an infrastructure that provides the economy with information communication technology (ICT) options for processing payments resulting from the many different types of economic transactions that take place daily. In other words, this includes e-payments, credit cards, and wire transfers.The Bank of Guyana (BoG) has been tasked with leading the development and implementing a strategic approach to advancing the development of Guyana’s NPS by establishing the parameters to guide policy and set priorities.last_img read more