‘COVID-19 allowances; payments should commence next week’
THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to provide some information pertaining to delays of COVID-19 allowances for frontline workers and/or casual employees recruited for COVID-19 operations.
This was confirmed in a statement in response to the Solomon Star inquiries to the ministry this week regarding the matter.
According to the statement, first health would like to express sincere sympathy to those workers affected by the delay and their families and assure that it has done everything under its power, and control to expedite all necessary required paperwork for the processing of the payments at the soonest.
The statement affirmed that the delay is due to a combination of procedural and technical accounting issues, which MHMS has worked tirelessly in the past weeks to sort out.
“This is because health has now shifted to commence utilization of donors funding when the 2021 budget proper came into effect for its operations including payments of allowances of its frontline workers and casual COVID-19 employees,” the statement added.
The statement further clarifies that this shift takes time to fulfill certain specific requirements let alone donor requirements before commencement with utilization of their funds.
“Nevertheless, MHMS has completed all requirements needed to commence utilization of donor funding with the final task, retiring of standing imprest for COVID-19 operations, already submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury,” the statement said.
It also added that It’s important to note that the same number of health staff dealing with all other ministerial payments are the ones also doing COVID-19 payments.
“This has been noted and thus MHMS is working to address the gap,” the statement added.
The statement said MHMS health is optimistic that COVID-19 outstanding payments for frontline and/ or COVID-19 casual workers, all vendors providing COVID-19 services to health, will be addressed next week, otherwise, health will continue to follow up and provide an update.
When this paper contacted the front line and casual officers yesterday about the response they said that they thanked MHMS for their response but the Permanent Secretary must true to her words.
“We cannot go like this any longer MHMS and the PS must act accordingly and if anyone in the ministry is not doing his/her job the PS must discipline him/her,” the spokesperson for the front line officers said.
By ANDREW FANASIA