By Yang Ater Yang
Lakes State Minister of General Education and Instruction, Nelson Makoi Makur said 7 teachers among the 12 that were arrested and detained over claims of new salary increment and allowance have been released, while 5 still remain in custody pending further investigations.
In a statement to the media on Wednesday, Minister Makoi Makur said that 5 other teachers remained in custody for investigation and must explain why they stormed the Ministry’s account department.
“Now, we are currently in consultation with the State Ministry of Finance to create columns of nature of work allowance (chalk allowance) in the electronic payroll and teachers will be paid their allowance, the money will go directly to real teachers who are in class not to those teachers who left government schools for other institutions will not be beneficiaries on payment, disregard the fake news for not paying teachers with new salaries structure is not true,” Makoi said to the media.
He lamented that there was no other salary increment in Lakes State apart from the announced 100% salaries increment for all civil servants across South Sudan.
Minister Makoi said Lakes State has already implemented the policy on the 100% salary scale since last year 2021 before his appointment as Minister of General Education in the State.
“When I was appointed, I got policy in place that education block transfer would be directly transferred from National Ministry of General Education and Instruction as a package to pay salaries, operation costs and allowance,” he noted.
“This policy was implemented recently in the transfer of two months salaries of January and February respectively, that was good news for education fraternity to receive their money directly from national Ministry of General Education and Instruction budget is currently separated from State Ministry of Finance’s budget,” the official added.
Mr. Makoi said when he received the confirmation of transfer letter; he consulted the National Ministry of General Education and Instruction to send him guidelines for payment.
He said that he has received from the National Minister of General Education, Awut Deng Acuil talking about 100% salary increments, which has been implemented since last year plus 6 columns of allowance which is yet to be implemented.
“Furthermore, I contacted the Undersecretary of the National Ministry of General Education Dr. Kuyok Abol Kuyok to advise me on how to spend the money, in fact he advised me not to spend the money of education budget without advice from State governor and the council of ministers” Makoi said.
The State Education Minister said he realized that, they should spend budget in consultation with the governor and State Council of Ministers.
“While governor was away for a short visit to Juba then, I was in a dilemma should the Ministry wait for governor’s consultation in order to add allowance s for teachers to their salaries? This wasn’t a good idea since people are hungry due to salaries delay, then, the Ministry of Education decided to release salaries first and thereafter we will calculate allowance based on grade, 14, 12, 10, and 9 and among others to be paid later,” minister Makoi explained the salary payment plan.
He however noted that when the teachers heard the news of the salary pay, some teachers went on strike claiming salary increments and instead of them going to the Education Minister’s office first for more clarification; they went directly to the State parliament for petition.
“So, I was called by the speaker for clarification then, I clarified the matter that we are calculating teachers’ allowances and it will be paid by the committee to move from school to school since most of our public-school teachers left government schools for green pasture,” the education official justified his plan of paying the teachers.
He stressed that unfortunately the following day a group of 12 people, who claimed to be teachers began to mobilize other teachers to reject salaries.
The Minister said that, they know in the Ministry of Education some of those groups are not teachers nor assigned to any schools, but the group went to the ministry Head office to block teachers who were coming to receive their salaries in the account sections.
“These groups stormed department of finance in the ministry education and threatened cashiers to close government safe and threatening to thrown away money should cashiers continues with payment. This act was a criminal act and it’s an attempted robbery to government safe and account department, immediately I ordered their arrest because they have gone beyond their mandates, nobody has right to block anyone in receiving salaries. We are also aware of the situation in which our teachers are in dire conditions where salary is low and usually delays,” Makoi acknowledge ordering arrest of the teachers.
He told the citizens of Lakes State and the public that the Ministry of education is mandated by law to guarantee right to education and quality education to their citizen thus they are bound by law to implement this mandate.