SUDAN WATCH: South Sudan: Wau teaching hospital employees protesting about being forced to open bank accounts in order to be paid

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

South Sudan: Wau teaching hospital employees protesting about being forced to open bank accounts in order to be paid

Report by Sudan Radio Service, November 23, 2009:
(Wau) - Wau Teaching Hospital employees are protesting about the decision by the GOSS Ministry of Health ordering them to open bank accounts. Employees are now expected to open an account in order to receive their salaries from the government.

The employees say that the two-week notice given by the government was insufficient for them to set up an account.

The Director of Wau Teaching Hospital, Peter Tartizio, spoke to Sudan Radio Service last week.

[Peter Tartizio]: “A letter was given to the director-general of the hospital when he was in Juba for a workshop. He told management about the letter given to him by the Ministry of Health in Juba saying that we should present this order to the employees. Unfortunately, when we introduced this idea to them [employees], they rejected it because the decision was announced so late. Some said their salaries are not enough to be deposited in the bank. Some asked who would be responsible if they didn’t find their money in their account. I told them that I am not the one who came with the idea, so they should forward their complaints to the Ministry of Health.”

When Sudan Radio Service spoke to some of the employees there were mixed reactions to the ministry’s decision.

Langa Peter is a member of staff at Wau teaching Hospital.

[Langa Peter]: “The solution for this case is for the government to give us three months to prepare ourselves. The government can’t just give us such short notice. According to them, the money is supposed to be in the bank in November and we don’t have the proper paperwork for the bank. How will we receive the money from the bank? We are not going to accept that, unless they give us extra money to be able to open our bank account.”

Asha Adam, a nurse at the hospital, said that it is impossible for someone like her, who is earning less than 300 SDG a month, to open a bank account.

[Asha Adam]: “The idea of opening a bank account is wrong; how will we be able to divide our monthly salaries so that some can be deposited into the account, some used for paying rent, some for paying school fees for our children, some to buy food? How will this help us when some of us are earning 280 SDG? The salary we are earning is only enough to buy food in the market; we won’t be able to divide it further.”

Asha Adam was speaking to Sudan Radio Service in Wau last week.
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Civil servants in the Government of Southern Sudan will begin receiving their salaries through bank accounts

Report by Sudan Radio Service, November 24, 2009:
(Nairobi) - Civil servants in the Government of Southern Sudan will begin receiving their salaries through bank accounts from November, 2009.

The GOSS Minister of Labor, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Awut Deng, said her ministry has embarked on an intensive pay-roll “cleansing” operation to reduce government spending.

Awut Deng spoke to Sudan Radio Service in Nairobi on Monday.

[Awut Deng]: “It is true; we will not send out the November salaries in cash since it is now government policy that everybody has to have a bank account. The circular was sent out in October to the effect that November salaries will only be paid via personal bank accounts.”

Awut added that the cost of employees' salaries is greater than the oil revenue which is being used to pay them every month.

She explains that the pay-roll campaign is designed to get rid of unqualified and incompetent workers.

[Awut Deng]: “The pay-roll cleansing is not targeting people who fought during the war. People who are working in southern Sudan did not come from the SPLA only. The pay-roll cleansing is targeting ghost workers. We have people who died a long time ago who are still being paid. You have students who are not in the offices delivering services to the people of southern Sudan but are in the pay-roll and we have children too. It is a policy of the Government of Southern Sudan that we should have a lean, efficient, effective and responsive civil service in southern Sudan now and beyond the interim period. We are talking about 300,000 workers in southern Sudan and we wish to reduce this figure to 100,000.”

Awut concluded that the money recovered from ‘ghost workers’ in Eastern Equatoria state has been used to construct a state-owned hotel. She added that in Western Equatoria state, the governor was able to purchase an FM radio station and road construction equipment as well as sponsoring the education of ten students.

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