Business News of Saturday, 25 February 2017
Snippets of information gathered by 3news.com have revealed plans by the government to dismiss most of the staff employed at Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) under the previous government from 2013. Sources suggest that the agency has already carried out a directive by the Agric Minister to the human resource department of COCOBOD to compile and supply him with list of persons employed from 2013. About 300 staff working at the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), Quality Control Company (QCC), Seed Production Division (SPD), Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) and Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) will all be affected by the move.
An insider at COCOBOD who confirmed the impending dismissal noted that days after the sector minister assumed office, he requested the Director of Finance and Administration, William Mensah to provide him with letters proving that those employed from 2013 duly applied for employment. After the application letters were submitted, another directive came in asking for document suggesting those who submitted letters went through the right process.
After clearing these hurdles, the HR department, 3news.com gathered received verbal communication from William Mensah to submit to the minister the marks those employed from 2013 scored during the interview. When everything was satisfied that due process was followed in employing them, our sources said the powers that be further demanded that the employees’ positions match with the requisite qualifications irrespective of experiences acquired over the years and going through several appraisers among others.
This, the sources say, has created some discomfort for the yet-to-be confirmed chief executive of COCOBOD Joseph Aidoo and Hackman Owusu Agyeman who has been named as board chairman of COCOBOD. The Board is expected to be inaugurated next week.
A staff at COCOBOD who was employed before 2013 and would not be affected by the mass dismissal told 3news.com most of her colleagues are feeling uneasy. “If these people are sacked, it will undermine job security for middle class workers, because NDC may consider it as a pure political decision and are likely to take revenge when they win power again, creating unprecedented vindictive cycle of job instability at COCOBOD,” the lady who does not want to be named lamented.
She suggested that since these employees went through all the processes it would be awful to dismiss them because there is a mismatch between their qualification and department they were placed by the employer.
For instance irrespective of the fact that the person is performing well, if he holds degree in economics, he would be sacked because he currently finds himself at the communications department, she explained. Another worker who is likely to be affected noted that it has always been the practice at COCOBOD to send persons reassigned to a different unit to go to Bunso Cocoa College in the Eastern region where COCOBOD staff get their technical training from.
“Better still we should be allowed to acquire additional qualification perhaps a diploma in addition to our degree to fit into the department we have been placed as the minister wishes,” the staff said. Attempts to get Mr. William Mensah who has been very instrumental in the massive dismissal process as well as the office of the Public Relations Unit of COCOBOD for confirmation have not been successful. 3news.com is however following the fluid situation there. The latest development comes on the back of an earlier house cleaning exercise at COCOBOD where 11 top managers were asked to proceed on leave last month.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by COCOBOD today stated in part, “The management of Ghana Cocoa Board wishes to bring to the attention of its stakeholders, staff and in fact all Ghanaians that COCOBOD has not dismissed any staff over the past two months upon the assumption of the new management and does not intend to dismiss any staff on frivolous reasons.” The statement urged “all staff to remain calm as their employment and well-being are of paramount concern to management”.