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, in response to a media publication on the matter.
First health would like to express sincere compassion with 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 paper work for processing of the payments at the soonest.
Note that the delay is due to a combination of procedural and technical accounting issues, which MHMS have worked tirelessly in the past weeks to sort out. These issues are important to address to enable MHMS finance team to be able to fulfil donor-funding requirements, as health will now commence utilization of donor funds for its COVID-19 related activities.
These donor funds will also be used to pay for wages of COVID-19 employees under casual contracts thus the delay in payments to this group of workers. For all MHMS permanent staff working in the frontline, their allowances will still be paid by SIG and as usual alongside their normal fortnightly salaries.
MHMS has completed all requirements needed to commence utilization of donor funding including retiring of standing imprest for COVID-19 operations which has already been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
The news article also questioned, why MHMS and government can afford MHMS expats’ salaries and not the local workers, thus MHMS would also like to clarify that MHMS expats salaries are not paid by SIG rather funding from donors and development partners.
We acknowledge that there has been delay for payment not only to the frontliners but to others including contract workers and expats alike. We consider each one as part of team and no preferential treatment is provided to anyone. We also acknowledge that there are procedural delays, and we are working to see how we can expedite such payments without compromising the financial rules and regulations.
With this, health is optimistic that COVID-19 outstanding payments for frontline and/ or COVID-19 casual workers including all vendors providing COVID-19 services to health, will be addressed next week.