The Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Foday Sahr, has told members of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts that the Government of Sierra Leone owes them 32billion Leones as arrears for the Sierra Leone-grant-in-aid.
The Vice Chancellor was summoned by the committee to answer to queries raised in the Auditor General's report, which had indicated that the university was unable to pay National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) contributions and withholding taxes to the National Revenue Authority (NRA), among others.
He said part of the reason they could not pay NASSIT for their employees was that they didn't have enough funds and that the 20 percent fees paid by students was not enough for them to deduct taxes and pay NASSIT contributions.
He disclosed that from 2014 to date the government was yet to make payment to them for granting-in-aid, adding that several undertakings have been made by the government with nothing been done about that.
He said last year they met with the Finance Committee in Parliament and explained the issue, but that things remains unresolved.
He said even though they have development partners, but that they do not contribute to salaries of employees.
According to the Finance Director, Madam Maltina Mackay, they paid salaries in 2018, but couldn't continue due to some challenges faced by the university, especially with regards payment of fees, coupled with the delay to provide them with their subvention.
"We don't even have enough to pay salaries because the subvention is not forth coming. We even have not made payment since January and that there are also other staff that the government has not taken on board. As we speak, we are paying salaries every month at least Le 1.8billiion and the students are not paying," she said.
She stated that 80% of the students are on SLG and that their fees are not paid on time, stating that most of the times they try to salvage the issue through strike actions.
Chairman of the Public Account Committee, Hon. Segepor S. Thomas, urged the Vice Chancellor ensures to always make payments of NASSIT contributions for his employees,as most times when retirees go for their monies, lot of issues are raised.
He said the auditors always give opportunities to MDAs before publishing reports and that they should make sure to always correlate their documents.