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15.11.2004 Business & Finance

Top Electrical Companies Lose Jobs

By Palaver

Palaver --PRIVATE electrical contractors, who undertake external networks, have been virtually kicked out of business.

This follows new directives, issued out by the management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), obviously, acting under Ministerial orders, which have made it almost impossible for the private entrepreneurs to operate.

According to the directives, private contractors, who construct external networks, should have supporting import documents for every item of material installed.

This means, if a contractor, purchases bolts and nuts, from ordinary shops, he will still have to look for a copy of the import documents, before using them on any project.

The directives claimed that the ECG is in a position to supply almost all materials from their own stores, a claim, said to be false.

Rather, according to sources, the move is to ensure that the ECG becomes the sole "contractors" for such projects, kicking out the private entrepreneurs from business.

The sources quoted a portion from a circular letter, which indicates that the ECG will undertake all such external contracts.

Initially, however, the ECG is to undertake the jobs by direct labour or "through third parties, contracted by the ECG".

In an interview with some of the contractors, they said the move to place a ban on their operations, is ill-conceived, since, if even the even the ECG were to sublet some of the private contracts, involving the connection of private houses to the main supply-lines, the selection will be based on factors, other than those of fair play.

"We all smell rat in the move, since, those of us, who engage in this business are all qualified persons, graded by the ECG, itself.

"Apart from that, on completion of our projects, it is the same ECG whose officials inspect and certify the work, as having been efficiently constructed, before power is supplied to the customer.

"So why all these impediments strewn on our way?". he asked.

Meanwhile, as a result of the ban, many treated trees, now used as election poles, are lying in sheds, untouched, as business has slowed down.

Although the Kufuor Administration has been trumpeting about its policy being "business-friendly", with its "Golden Age of Business" slogan, the situation on the ground is that of "Dark Age of Business".

With the big-time electrical contractors, now being pushed out of business, the subsequent increase in the unemployed population, can well be imagined!

No wonder, the NPP's latest manifesto includes a strange proposal as a solution for the unemployment problem, never solved by the registration of the jobless, beggars and the insane, all bungled in an exercise.

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