President John Dramani Mahama has asked university lecturers to call off their strike because government has approved the payment of the book and research allowance they have been clamouring for.

“The process of payment is ongoing so I don’t think there is a need for a strike”, the President revealed on state-owned Uniiq FM Tuesday.

University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) declared an indefinite strike about five days ago vowing that until their 2014/2015 Book and Research Allowance was paid, they will not be at post.

Public universities across the country are re-opening this week.

“The government owes us some money. Our book and research allowance is still outstanding for the 2014/2015 academic year. We are entering another academic year and we still don’t know what they are doing for us,” UTAG President Dr Samuel Ofori Bekoe told Peace FM Monday.

“We have decided that if they are not able to pay the outstanding debt, then we are not ready to enter into a new arrangement. They should pay us what we have worked for before we can enter into another academic year”, he added.

But in a confirmation which government expects should discourage UTAG’s action, the Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Education Francis Gbadago says the approval by the Finance Ministry is “significant progress”.

“What this [approval] means is that the processes have just began…..and we believe strongly that within the short possible time” the lecturers will receive their allowance, the PRO assured.

President Mahama also stated that there is no need to pressurize government into paying because as a yearly allowance, there was still to honour the obligation.

“It is a one-off payment, it is paid once a year and the year has not ended so I don’t see why [they should strike]” he said.

The strike over the payment of book and research allowance is an old battle.

In July 2014, UTAG and Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) refused to work over the same issue.

It dragged on for nearly four months until government agreed to pay the allowance.

Government expects that the haggling over book and research allowance will become a thing of the past when it replaces it with a national research fund

Under the expected arrangement, lecturers will only receive funding after they have expressed interest in a research work has been agreed.

The University lecturers are not happy with this new proposal.

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