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24.08.2005 Business & Finance

GWCL to redeploy 1,280 workers

GWCL to redeploy 1,280 workers
Accra, Aug. 24, GNA - About 1,280 workers of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to be retrenched under the Private Sector Participation (PSP) in water delivery have started receiving letters informing them of their redeployment, as the multi-million-dollar programme finally gears up to take off.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday, Mr Samuel Gerald Odartey-Lamptey, Managing Director of GWCL, said the affected workers would receive their cheques by the end of next month.
This followed a favourable agreement, which included a one million-dollar special counselling and training programme that would enable the affected workers to have an alternative employment. Mr Odartey-Lamptey said details of how much each worker would take home would depend on several factors that were being worked out. He said the whole exercise would last for three years under the supervision of an Administrator, who was appointed in collaboration with the World Bank (WB).
Mr Odartey-Lamptey said the administrator would manage the redeployment programme with the aim of ensuring that the workers invested their monies into ventures that could sustain their livelihoods.
"In all 10 million dollars would go into the severance package which was made ready months ago. However, we had to work out the modalities involved in the package.
"Now, we have finished and soon after the end of the counselling programme by the end of September the administrator himself would issue out the cheques to them before the training begins," Mr Odartey-Lamptey said.
He said the only condition attached was that the Administrator supervised it to ensure that no staff would misused his or her money and later came back to look for employment in the public sector.
When the PSP takes off in January next year, GWCL would still be the holding company that would own and manage the assets whereas the private investor would produce, distribute and sell water in the country.
Four companies - two French, one Dutch and one South African - had put in two bids to participate in the PSP, other sources told the GNA.
They are Saur and Veolia Water companies from France, which have put in one bid, and Vintenx from Holland and Rand Water Company from South Africa, which have also put in one bid.
Mr Odartey-Lamptey said final evaluation of the process was ongoing in consultation with the WB that provided the fund.
The PSP is to ensure an increase in regular and stable supply of water to the poor, the project had the potential to boost commercial and industrial activities, particularly beverage manufactures and small-scale industries.
Private sector participation in water supply in Ghana has been a delicate issue. An earlier attempt to privatise public water services, following pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), slowed down on massive civil society resistance.
Pressure groups emerged to oppose the programme claiming that water privatisation could hamper access to clean water in Ghana and cited examples of "similar confrontations in Argentina, Bolivia, the Philippines and South Africa."
The Ghana National Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water (NCAP) has held a series of forums kicking against the PSP and emphasising on the need of a public water service to keep prices under control and, therefore, make access to clean water a possibility for the urban poor.
The Trades Union Congress and the Integrated Social Development Centre have also been against the PSP.