08.03.2005 Business & Finance

Tamale Labour Dept in Crisis

08.03.2005 LISTEN
By Ghanaian Chronicle

The Chronicle intelligence sources have uncovered that, the Department of Labour, the only potential department responsible for providing employment and opening other lucrative avenues for the people in the country, particularly the unemployed youth, is gradually being put into oblivion by our political leaders across the country.

Following intense pressure mounted on new organizations in various regions by some government officials and traditional rulers to secure jobs for their followers and sympathizers, most people were not visiting the department, since the unemployed youth no longer depended on it (Labour Department) for employment opportunities.

Investigations conducted by the Northern Regional Bureau of The Chronicle revealed that the Tamale branch of the Labour Department has been, over the years, facing a very big problem in exercising its constitutional duties.

The paper gathered that new organizations that were being established in the region had resorted to disregarding the presence of the Department.

The Chronicle sources close to the Northern Regional Office of Labour hinted that the department was able to secure jobs for only 25 persons during 2003 and 2004.

"We wonder how and why the high ranking members in government are politicizing and interfering in the activities of the Labour Department, whilst there is a laid down procedure for all applicants to follow," the sources bemoaned.

However, the source disclosed that the government officials did not only force the organizations or employers, but also the Labour Department by way of issuing what it termed as "Protocol lists" to secure jobs for their people.

"Meanwhile, every organization has its own way of employing the needed labourers or has a criteria to follow, but because of fear of losing the contract awarded by the government, they forcibly accept the "Protocol list" and within the next few years the organization collapses," the source disclosed.

In an interview the Northern Regional Head of the Labour Department, Mr. Abdulai Imoro was very apprehensive speaking to this reporter, saying, "you know some of us are civil service personnel and are not permitted to speak anyhow or expose some issues."

However, he noted that, it was the responsibility of the department to provide quality employees for organizations and to also advise them on some important issues that would ensure their sustainability. "But the involvement of those influential people in the activities of the department and the organizations has compelled them to go their own ways, while they later found their way to the department for directives after they encountered problems."

The labour boss regretted about how the government was not paying attention to the department, which was in existence to complement its (government) efforts at providing employment for the youth.

On his part, Mr. Braimah Dawuda, Metropolitan Labour Officer, blamed the politicians for breaching the laws of the department.

He explained that the activities of the government officials have made it possible for employers to take advantage of the unemployment situation in the region to maltreat, overuse and lay off employees at any time, without any reasonable cause.

Mr. Braimah, therefore, described it as a "human right abuse and slavery."

He, however, appealed to government officials and traditional rulers to concentrate on their field of jurisdiction and stop interfering in the activities of government departments.

The regional head, Mr. Imoro, appealed to the government to decentralize the Labour Department to enable them run their activities effectively. He also called on the government to attach importance to the department and provide them with vehicles, motorbikes and other office equipment.

Interestingly, the Northern Regional Office of Labour did not even have a single vehicle or bicycle to facilitate the movements of the labour inspectors while almost all the three offices The Chronicle visited at the Department were all lacking guest chairs.