Wages promised to health workers not paid for four months

National

By LUKE KAMA and REBECCA KUKU
THE government has promised to pay this week the salaries of health workers serving in church-run health facilities who have not been paid in the past four months.
Health and HIV/Aids Minister Sir Puka Temu blamed the country’s cash flow problem.
The non-payment of staff was a serious issue which the government must resolve, said Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and the Solomon Islands general-secretary Father Victor Roche and Cardinal Sir John Ribat yesterday as they raised their concerns.
Cardinal Ribat said it did not only concern Catholic health workers but also other church health workers around the country.
Sir Puka said he understood their concerns.
“I am truly sorry for the delay. However, I thank them for the patience and understanding and assure them that they will receive their salaries by the end of this week,” Sir Puka said.
“I have tasked Health Secretary Pascoe Kase who has already raised a cheque and by the end of this week all their salaries should be in their bank accounts.”
Cardinal Ribat said health centres and hospitals run by churches were using their reserve funds to pay for the salaries “in the hope that the government will release their salaries”.
Fr Roche said several attempts had been made to discuss the matter with the Health Department.
“The Government is paying the salaries for health workers of government-run health services and not the church-run health services,” he said.
“They are doing this with the hope that churches will be able to sustain themselves. But this is totally not correct.”

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