Questions about how the budgetary allocations of the University of Guyana are spent have been circulating for quite some time. Students have been complaining that while tuition fees continue to rise, the campus is unsafe with little effort to improve campus security.
There have also been complaints that facilities available to students and staff are not well kept.
Further, the unions of the University of Guyana, the Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and the Workers’ Union (UGWU), have expressed concerns about spending by the administration of the institution’s funds.
In response to these concerns, the Ministry of Education, in a recent letter to the UG council advised of the unions’ joint request to have the Auditor General’s office conduct a special audit of the University’s finances.
Graphical data jointly released by those two unions provide a snippet of how the money the administration receives is spent. The data from the University of Guyana Audited and Unaudited Financial Statements and budget documents (2014-2019) suggests that money is disproportionately allocated to the Executive body.
The “Executive”, according to a joint release from the unions, refers to eight senior administrators of the University. Emolument costs illustrated on the release show that in 2013, the combined compensatory packages for the executive body amounted to less than $60M. In 2018, that figure stood well over $180M. This represents a tripling of the salary packages of these eight officials in just five years.
But despite such a significant increase, the Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith said, “The Administration welcomes the opportunity to clear the air on the allegations and assertions by the unions and other individuals.”
He had added, “We have long indicated such, both directly to the UG unions and in my recent two memoranda to the university community.”
According to information released by the institution, too, in January 2019, the Administration told the two unions that the institution was not in a position to pay further salary increases for 2018, having paid a four percent salary increase to academic staff and three percent to non-academic staff, both tax-free, in December 2018.
These increases are modest, compared to the increases made available to the executive body, which stand well over 200 percent.
It was further noted that on February 13, 2019, in an update to the members of the UG community on the industrial climate at Turkeyen and the call by the Unions for a forensic financial audit, the Vice Chancellor said that the Administration is willing to have its financial position examined by any competent and independent Arbiter.
Meanwhile, the Administration said that it is awaiting a response from the unions to its weeks-old request for several documents as part of efforts to be consistent in the pursuit of accountability and transparency.
The documents sought include their Articles of Association, Certificates of Recognition, Statements of Income and Expenditure for recent years, and recent Annual Returns and audited statements.
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