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27.06.2008 General News

Shake-Up At NACOB

By Daily Graphic
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A major restructuring and expansion exercise at the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) has been announced to strengthen the capacity of the board to deal more effectively with the drug trade in the country.

As part of the exercise, new directorates and specialised units have been created, with specific functions in Finance and Administration, Demand Reduction, as well as Enforcement and Control.

The specialised units include Internal Audit, Project and Information Management and Legal and Public Relations.

Furthermore, a rotational system for NACOB personnel and operatives has been introduced, especially for those operating at the Kotoka International Airport.

Operations at NACOB have also been decentralised into the northern, middle and western zones.

 

The Executive Secretary of NACOB, Mr Benjamin Botwe, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, said, “We want to create a system, not individuals, since it is more difficult to corrupt a system than it is to corrupt individuals.”

He said the restructuring of the board was to ensure an environment in which offices would be assigned specific jobs with specific objectives.

“We have created a solid organisational base on which future operations can depend,” he said, adding that under the directorates, there were also departments charged with specific responsibilities.

He said the board had to decentralise its activities since the drug problem had ceased to be a problem of only Accra, hence the need to spread its operations to other parts of the country.

Mr Botwe indicated that inter-agency co-ordinating committees, made up of representatives of the board, the security agencies and other institutions, had also been set up to co-ordinate activities.

A new conditions of service document had been developed and approved by the board, he said, and added that the non-financial components of the document had been implemented.

“The financial components are with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Fair Wages Commission, from whom approval is being awaited for implementation,” he said.

Mr Botwe said the right working environment had been established through the provision of new sets of furniture, as well as computers and Internet access for staff, “instead of the situation where only one person used to have access to the Internet”.

The board, he said, had signed an agreement with the Public Sector Reforms Ministry for the establishment of a client service centre where all information on NACOB could be obtained through fax, phone or e-mail.

“Those days NACOB's operations are closed. We are trying to make it an open organisation,” he said, adding that a document, Standard Operating Procedure for NACOB, had been developed, in addition to a three-year strategic plan (2008-2010).

Mr Botwe, who is on secondment from the Food and Drugs Board, said for the first time, recruitment of staff was done through a public advertisement in the Daily Graphic and that interviews were conducted by representatives from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service, the Public Services Commission, the Directorate of Human Resource at the Ministry of the Interior and the Governing Board.

He said there was industrial harmony at NACOB and that when the rumour of a pending strike came to the notice of management, he took the opportunity to explain the steps that had been taken to resolve the salary issue and cautioned especially those who were on probation on the implications of their action in relation to the Labour Law.

According to him, an open administration had been instituted, with a three-tier democratic governance structure comprising top management meetings, middle management meetings and staff durbars, to give staff the opportunity to ask questions bothering them.

Mr Botwe later disclosed that the board had taken delivery of a custom-built toilet for expelling drugs for persons who had swallowed drugs for trafficking, explaining that the facility would be installed in a fortnight's time.

Story by Emmanuel Bonney

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