The hope of a better life, the joy of living in a country with free flowing milk, honey and wine promised by Nana Akufo-Addo, if made President of Ghana, has become a mirage in many Ghanaian homes.
Less than a year into office, the government is creating mass unemployment by sacking thousands of workers from state establishments across the country and leaving families in total distress.
From Ghana COCOBOD, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Ghana Health Service, the National Security Secretariat, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), countless numbers of workers offered jobs after elaborate recruitment processes, have either been sent home or about to be, on the simple basis that they got their jobs under the Mahama government.
Other state institutions affected by the summary dismissal are; the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), Bank of Ghana, the National Service Scheme, Ridge Hospital, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHAPOHA) and many more.
Aside these politically-motivated dismissals, Police and military recruits, have either been withdrawn from the training depots across the country or those waiting to go for training after a tedious body selection, background checks, medical examinations and exams, have had their appointment letters cancelled living them with a bleak future.
At BOST, some workers have been hounded out of the place for no reason, and many more are likely to be sacked in the coming days on the claim of being sympathizers of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), who were recruited into the state oil transporter by Kingsley Awuah Darko.
DVLA is getting rid of 100 workers, National Service, has sacked 215, NHIS dismissed 300, COCOBOD sacked 110 and police service sacked 255 from training deport.
There are many other institutions, where workers recruited sometime in 2009 under Mills administration, have been sacked by the Akufo-Addo government.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has also disclosed that revenue leakages at Ghana’s sea ports, have reached alarming levels that the Akufo-Addo government is considering sacking some workers and introducing technology in revenue collection.
“Since we’ve come to office, one of the things that I have noticed is when everybody comes to ask me for a job, I say well where do you want to work, number one answer, port. Without fail, I want to go to the port. What is in the port, what really is there? Am I missing something, everybody wants to work in the port,” Dr. Bawumia lamented.
“Even the people working in customs they come to me and say they want a transfer, where do you want to go, I want to go to the port, there must be something that is happening there, and if people are making additional revenues then it means government is not getting those revenues,” he said.
“So we are going to look at this systems, this human interfaces, how do we really get this automation going. Looking at our situational analysis initially, leaning from others what others are doing, Reducing the human interface, blocking the revenue leakages, this is are really all the major topics that the government is really interested in and hopefully we will come out with an agenda for action and recommendation that we will present to President Akufo-Addo and some decisions can be taken” he assured.
Presently, there is tension at the DVLA, following the summary dismissal of over 100 workers last Friday.
The employees, largely administrative staff, were employed between September and December, 2016 by the former management under the past government.
According to media reports, some of the workers, had their dismissal letters handed to them by hand in the office and those who were absent had theirs delivered by courier.
Union Chairman of DVLA Workers Union, Eric Thompson, described the incident as a worrying development that may affect the productivity of those who are still at post, because they are also threatened.
He told Dzifa Bampoh on Joy FM’s Top Story on Friday, the Union leadership, met the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority to reconsider the dismissal, but it was not heeded.
“The CEO, said the Authority hasn’t got sufficient funds to pay the salaries of workers [hence the dismissal],” he said.
Mr. Thompson, said he has heard reports that the dismissed workers form part of the last minute appointment by the previous government.
“The criteria being used are not fair [because] the workers are in their probation month,” he said, adding the DVLA Union is engaging the mother Union to have the issue resolved.
The dismissal at the DVLA, comes hours after the Medical Director of the Ridge Hospital, Dr Thomas Awuni Anaba, was transferred to another facility and the dismissal of the Corporate Affairs Director of the Ghana Gas Company, Alfred Ogbamey.
Concerns have been raised about the politicization of the public service, especially during the President Akufo-Addo’s tenure.
The Minority in Parliament, has been displeased by the news, describing recent spate of dismissal of some administrative workers across the country as a cancerous trend.
NDC MP for Keta, Richard Quarshiga, said the action by the DVLA officials was not in keeping with the rule of law the President has pledged to respect.
He said, the dismissed employees got their jobs on merit and not because of political consideration as the government wants Ghanaians to believe.
“The President promised Ghanaians he was going to ensure that there is justice, rule of law under his government, but he is breaching the Constitution of Ghana,” he said.
Mr. Quarshiga, said the Minority would collate the number of people who have been dismissed by the new government and forward to the Speaker.
“When Parliament resumes we will file a paper…we will pursue government even to the law court, or through Parliament,” he said of the options opened to the Minority.
But labour expert, Austin Gamey, said the Authority reserves the right to lay-off workers, if it is convinced their services are not needed.
He said, although the dismissal of the over 100 staff at DVLA, might sound strange to Ghanaians, Mr. Gamey said it was not “entirely abnormal when it comes to the political terrain.”
“I don’t support this kind of things [because] professionally the way forward is to use certain institutionalized processes,” he said.
Mr. Gamey advised the workers to file an official complaint at the National Labour Commission (NLC) for action to be taken on the dismissal.
According to Dr. Bawumia, the current port systems, have created favorable conditions for bribery and corruption, attracting many people to seek non-existing jobs there.
Speaking at a conference in Accra aimed at enhancing efficiency at the ports, Dr. Bawumia, maintained that government was going to roll out a firm policy to cut down on the number of human interactions that foster corruption at the ports.
“Since we’ve come to office, one of the things that I have noticed is when everybody comes to ask me for a job, I say well where do you want to work, number one answer, port. Without fail, I want to go to the port. What is in the port, what really is there? Am I missing something, everybody wants to work in the port,” he lamented.
Dr. Bawumia, stated that the perception of making quick money at the port is so rooted in the public sector such that almost all the agencies that do some exercise at border posts, want their personnel transferred to the ports.
Dr. Bawumia, maintained that it was important to remove the human interface, since that will be the only means to reduce corrupts acts at port to encourage businesses to grow.
The conference which was held in Accra, brought together major stakeholders in the sea transport industry.
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