FINANCE Department Acting Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan said teachers’ cheques for leave fares bounced from the bank because of a communication breakdown between his department and Education.
Ngangan told The National yesterday that the Education Department should have advised his department every time they had lodged a cheque so that Finance would alert the Bank of PNG about the expected cheque.
Ngangan denied claims from the teachers’ union and its branches that there was no money in the bank to pay the teachers’ leave fares and other entitlements. The teachers union had blamed the Finance Department for delaying payments.
“The Government is never short of money at any one time. We have a healthy cash-flow and the issue here is not about money but rather the cheque clearance process,” Ngangan said.
About 2000 teachers in the Highlands region had been denied spending Christmas with their families because their fares were not paid in, the teachers union claimed. It said the teachers were likely to miss out on New Year as well. Ngangan said they had spoken to other departments, including Education, about the new system that was in place at the banks to allow cheques to be processed.
“If the cheque number is not read well by the machine in the new system, then the cheque will bounce,” Ngangan said.
“I would advise Education to redo the cheque and work with us to avoid such instances in the future.”
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