Govt releases 10bn/- to settle teachers claims SUNDAY NEWS reporters Daily News; Saturday,November 15, 2008 @20:02 The government yesterday released over 10bn/- as payment of teachers outstanding arrears to be received by claimants starting tomorrow. The money released by Treasury was credited to accounts of 132 Councils country-wide through the National Microfinance Bank (NMB) by yesterday afternoon. The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Jeremiah Sumari, said that 10,016,012,189/- was released yesterday after completion of verification exercise which was to be completed on November 30, this year. He said; The NMB has confirmed this afternoon that money was credited into accounts of all the respective 132 Councils. This means the teachers can draw their money starting Monday (tomorrow). He told the 'Sunday News' yesterday that the ministry would conduct a post payment audit on individual basis over the payments made even to a period of five years. Out of the over 10bn/-, 6.6bn/- was for transfer allowance, 1.0bn/- for training, another 1.0bn/- for leave, 589,936,196/- medical allowance, 567,828,179/- up keep allowance and 72,948.942/- inheritance. Mr Sumari said that list of names of all beneficiaries had been submitted to respective municipal directors and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government under the Prime Ministers Office. The municipal directors have been directed to use the list forwarded by the PMOs office to affect payment to relevant teachers whose names will also appear in some local newspapers today. The deputy minister said that outstanding salary arrears for 10,198 primary school teachers amounting to 6.9bn/- was paid and 36.5m/- for the same was paid to 24 secondary school teachers after verification exercise this month of November. Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary, Mr Phillemon Luhanjo, had insisted that the planned strike by teachers scheduled for Monday countrywide was illegal, as the government was currently working on their demands. He told reporters in Dar es Salaam that the planned strike has not complied with all requirements indicated under the Public Service (Negotiating Machinery) Act. Mr Luhanjo had warned that disciplinary action would be taken against all those who would take part in the strike. He said the planned strike had no national interest. He said since teachers were public servants, the government, being their employer, would not pay them their salaries for such period they would be on strike as per Labour Relations Act. According to the Chief Secretary the government had already filed an application, seeking orders to prevent teachers from proceeding with their strike. The matter was now under the High Courts Labour Division. He said the Tanzania Teachers Union has been served with summons requiring them to appear before the court on Monday for hearing of the application. He advised them to forward their recommendations on how best to work on their demands. In another development, Court of Appeal Registrar Ferdinand Wambali, has refuted reports by a section of media that the court, in its decision dated November 11, 2008, allowed teachers to go on strike to pressurise the government to pay their demands. In a statement issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Mr Wambali said what the court did was to reverse the order of the High Courts Labour Division that barred teachers to go on strike after realising it was not properly moved. He said the Attorney General, who had instituted the proceedings before the High Court cited wrong provision to enable the court to determine the application. Mr Wambali said the Court of Appeal never went in to either discuss or decide on the dispute between teachers and the Attorney General. On October 13, this year, the High Courts Labour Division restrained the union and its agents from calling and participating in a nation-wide strike scheduled for October 15, to press the government to pay their pending arrears. Judge William Mandia ruled that the intended strike would cause irreparable injury and inconvenience to the public, the education system in the country and examinations for Form Four students who are not party to the dispute. Having being aggrieved by the decision, the teachers union filed an application at the Court of Appeal, seeking orders to reverse the High Courts proceedings and cited several grounds to support the application. On November 13, this year, the Court of Appeal ruled that the application by the teachers was incompetent as they should have filed an appeal. Justices Edward Rutakangwa, Nathalia Kimaro and Bernard Luanda, therefore, quashed the High Court orders and set aside all proceedings, saying the judge erred in entertaining the application as the court was not properly moved. Having thought that they had won the appeal, the president of the teachers union, Mr Grayson Mukoba, on Friday announced that the teachers would on Monday go on strike.