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25.08.2005 General News

NACP raises concern about GWCL redeployment

GNA

Accra, Aug. 25, GNA - The National Coalition Against Privatisation (NACP) of water on Thursday raised concern about the ongoing redeployment exercise at Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) saying the whole process was unfair and lacked transparency.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Gyekye Tanoh, a Spokesman of the Coalition, said there was conflict of interest in the appointment of the Administrator to manage the redeployment process. He said for a Former Deputy Director of GWCL to own or run the company selected to administer the redeployment exercise of nearly 2,000 workers clearly showed that there was conflict of interest at play. Sources at the GWCL confirmed to the GNA that the Administrator was a former senior official at GWCL.

On the 10 million dollars severance package for the affected workers, Mr Tanoh said the final list of those to be laid off had not come out yet, which suggested that there were no clear cut criteria as to who should go or stay.

He said the fate of those workers, who would remain in the new GWCL, would be in limbo since it was not clear whether they were going to enjoy a similar package should any of them be fired afterward.

"There is the need to come up with a proper severance package that will deal with the needs of those who will stay as well," Mr Tanoh suggested.

He said to the knowledge of the Coalition most of the workers were not happy with the package but because the issue had dragged on for a long time they had to accept what was being offered so that they could do something better with their lives.

"In fact some of the workers feel the PSP is a bonanza to the senior management," he said.

Reiterating the National Coalition's stance, Mr Tanoh said privatisation always brought about corruption and not investment as Ghanaians were being made to believe.

He said the workers' situation was just one sign and that the new industrial regime would be less favourable coupled with the new Labour Law, which was more labour restrictive.

About 1,280 workers of the GWCL, who would be retrained and redeployed under the Private Sector Participation (PSP) in water delivery, have started receiving letters informing them of their fate 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 misused his or her money and later came back to look for employment in the public sector.

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