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09.03.2009 Business & Finance

Communications Minister probes Ghana Posts' GH¢7.5m debt

By The Ghanaian Chronicle

The Ghanaian Chronicle reports that Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, has set up a commission of inquiry into GH¢7.5 million debt at Ghana Post, which has virtually collapsed the once vibrant state communication enterprise.

The Chronicle quotes a “document available” as indicating the Minister has set up investigations into the nature of a commercial agreement between Ghana Post and Sky Consult, the implementation of which led to the suspension of the Instant Money Transfer (IMT) introduced by the company in the last quarter of 2008.

In addition, the committee would examine mismanagement leading to the stoppage of other profitable services, such as the sale of telephone cards and passport forms.

Information available to the paper indicated that it was the National Investment Bank (NIB) that sells passport forms to the public instead of Ghana Post.

The committee was to also investigate Ghana Post's loss of its surplus capital of about GH¢600,000 accumulated in 2004, which shot up to GH¢7.5 million in 2008.

It is also to investigate circumstances that led to the non-payment of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax and the Value Added Tax (VAT) of workers of the Ghana Post.

The Minister has also tasked the committee to investigate the reasons behind the non-payment of retirement packages for retired staff of Ghana Post for the past three years.

This situation has forced regional and district officers, who are awaiting their retirement packages, to occupy bungalows that are supposed to be used by active members of the company.

For instance, in Aflao, a deceased retiree's bungalow has been locked up for three years now.

The company has lost most of its businesses, remaining with only the Emergency Mail Service (EMS), which is currently sustaining the company.

Information has it that the University of Ghana, Legon, severed the EMS business with Ghana Post and gave it to Federal Express (FedEx), but later reversed its decision because Ghana Post had wider coverage.

In remote areas, where workers are supposed to use motorbikes to circulate letters to the people, the absence of bikes had hampered smooth distribution, compelling some people awaiting letters to visit the major centres for their letters.

The Chronicle said it gathered that last year, the management of Ghana Post could only afford canned coke and biscuit worth GHp50, which was given to each worker as Christmas bonus.

This scenario might have sparked a recent demonstration held in Kumasi by the staff there, who called for the removal of Mr. Dua Adonteng, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Post.