Teachers’ loan probe

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By Glenda Awikiak
THE Teaching Service Commission is investigating why some teachers had taken out loans which required deductions of more than 50 per cent of their net salary.
Commission chairman Baran Sori said it was one of the reasons huge deductions were being made to teachers’ salaries each fortnight.
“The teachers’ pay cut is no longer the issue, but teachers obtaining loans beyond 50 per cent of net pay is now the issue. Investigation has started,” he said.
“Evidence have shown that there was no pay cut or deductions to teachers’ salaries from the education department, but deductions were for loans obtained from finance companies.”
He said more than 400 teachers were being investigated.
“Evidence on their pay slips showed they got loans and the deductions are for those loans they obtained,” he said.
“There were huge pay deductions, and the investigation will find out who agreed to and signed the Pay Variation Authority (PVA). This form is always signed by the payroll division. It is signed before any deduction can be made from the salary for loans.”
He said one primary school teacher in Goroka was receiving more than K1100 net pay a fortnight.
“He then obtained loans from Heduru Finance, Bushman Finance and Fincorp. The deductions were K94 for Busman Finance, K150 for FinCorp and K599 for Heduru. After compulsary deduction like tax and POSF, the teacher was left with only K7. This is unbelieveable and investigation is underway,” he said.
He said the ministry of education was also investigating teachers’ claims that “unknown” deductions were being made from their pay.
“These deductions were very huge that left many teachers with less than K100 (net pay), and some with only toeas.”
Meanwhile, Sori said some teachers had misunderstood the instalments made to their pay for the 3 per cent pay increase backdated to 2017. He said some thought that the increase would continue. “It did not as it stopped after Pay 19 on Sept 12, 2018. The Government made the commitment to pay the teachers their 2017 outstanding pay increase and it did complete that payment until Sept 12.”
Sori said the Teaching Service Pay Fixation Agreement from 2017 to 2019 was reached between the PNG Teachers’ Association and Department of Personnel Management.

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