Guinea-Bissau's government has reportedly taken action to tackle fraudulent claims and fictitious workers on the payroll by suspending teachers' salaries. As the government heavily depends on external financial aid, the proper tracking of the funds used are being made. This decision, announced on Thursday, is part of their efforts to combat ghost civil servants and control their wage expenditure. The Council of Ministers' ruling on July 18 also mandates the education ministry to conduct an employee census to assess the actual number of staff.
Even though the government is under political turmoil, however, the administration is taking accurate care of the funds. The government is controlling and checking where are funds are being used and how they can be used more efficiently. Approximately, around 8000 teachers in the primary and secondary schools of the country, with an average monthly income of nearly $86 or 50000 CFA francs, will be affected by this measure. The decision has already been met with opposition from a teaching union, who consider it unjust.
Guinea-Bissau heavily relies on external aid to cover salaries in the education sector, given the country's modest size in West Africa and its population of 2.1 million with a literacy rate of 56 percent. It's important to note that the government's economic reform targets have faced challenges, including the missed deadline for implementing a wage ceiling.
In May, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed to an extended credit facility of $3.16 million for Guinea-Bissau. However, the government has fallen short on three out of eight economic reform targets, which were supposed to be met by March.
Despite the concerns raised by the National Union of Teachers' President, Domingos de Carvalho, there are currently no plans for a strike. Instead, the union is exploring alternative effective ways to respond to the situation and find a solution accordingly.