Statistical Service to lay off 300 staff
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
He appeared in well-crafted Ghanaian apparel with his hair neatly shaved like the famous Marvelous Marvin Hagler ready to take on Sugar Ray Leonard in a middleweight boxing contest.
Perhaps, such a hairstyle was meant to show his youthful age, though he is 54, and his grey hair may be a deception to public.
He looked smart, and his stage manners, quite to perfection. He was in good mood; an indication that he was enjoying the night encounter with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), except the occasional clearing of his throat during the questions and answers time, which betrayed some tensed moments.
President John Dramani Mahama was of himself during the entire period he stood on the podium to address his audience and the nation.
When it came to delivering, he did his best, but not convincing enough to win the hearts of majority of the populace, who were glued to their seats in the comfort of their homes and offices, watching and listening to the live broadcast on radio and television.
Aside delivering his party’s blue-print policy which he intends implementing when the ruling party is given the nod for a second time, some of his answers were full of factual inaccuracies. Perhaps, the President was not properly briefed before mounting the IEA platform on Thursday night.
When Kwabena Nyarko Otu, from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), enquired from the President what measures he would put in place to address issues confronting the labour market, one of the key things Mr. Mahama noted in his response was to resource the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), while increasing their human resource capacity to enable them come out with adequate data of unemployment rates in the country.
His remarks conflicted with government’s position to sack some 300 staff of the GSS, under a project it intends to embark on, to revamp the agency which is under the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning, when the NDC retains power in 2013.
Financing agreement between the government and the International Development Association (IDA) for the said project has been concluded, according to information available to The Chronicle.
In the said agreement, the government would access a credit facility of 18,800,000 Special Drawing Right (equivalent to about US$28million) from IDA to assist in financing the said project, dubbed “Ghana Statistics Development Project.”
The project is aimed at strengthening the National Statistical System in the production and dissemination of timely and robust statistics relevant for evidence-based policy-making and other uses.
It consists of the following parts; Part A: Institutional Reform and Organizational Change
Under this program, the government through the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning would upgrade staff of the GSS and the professional statisticians of the National Statistical System to reach minimum qualification levels and implementing a career development program for said staff, through the provision of training;
Assist the GSS to: (a) carry out a plan for the retrenchment or staff buy-out of up to 300 staff within a period of five years from the Effective Date; and (b) implement measures to mitigate the social impact of retrenchment, including implementing the terms of the Staff Retrenchment Manual through the provision of social, psychological, financial and professional counseling for retrenched GSS staff, as well as the provision of retaining and other forms of assistance as may be needed.
PART B: Enhancing Statistical Capacity; Under this column, the government intends to (1) Build the capacity of the GSS at the national and regional level and strengthen the skills of the professional and non-professional staff of the statistical units, through the acquisition of goods, and provision of training in data collection, data production, data validation and data analysis and training for trainers;
(2) Develop a master sampling framework from the calendar year 2010 population and housing census, central business register and housing census, including census post-enumeration mapping and cartographic mapping through the provision of technical advisory services and acquisition of goods;
And (3) Invest in physical infrastructure of the MDAs’ statistical units and the GSS headquarters and regional level units, including the provision of information communication and technology software and equipment; improving the information communication technology connectivity for data collection, data transfer and statistical information sharing; improving the management of information systems and enhancements in data collection tools; and providing information
communication technology training to the staff of GSS and MDA statistics units.
Part C of the project consist modernizing data collection techniques, improving the management of information systems by the MDAs and developing a national statistics databank among many others while enhancing the communication of official statistics by creating a data dissemination and resource hub within the GSS.
That of part D is Project Management and Monitoring and Evaluation. Per the dictates of the terms and conditions of the credit facility, the recipient (Government of Ghana), shall ensure that the staff retrenched under the project shall not, for a period of two (2) years from the date of retrenchment, be re-employed in the GSS.
The creditors further called on the recipient to coordinate with the GSS to employ independent auditors satisfactory to the Association, to verify that the retrenched staff are not re-employed by the GSS within the said period.
The facility has 29 years repayment period starting from January 15, 2022, to July 15, 2051.
The said decision by the government was taken in 2011 and was supposed to have been implemented this year with the Parliament sub-committee on Finance meeting on it for the first time in the middle of June, 2012.
However, due to concerns raised by some Members of Parliament on the increasing rate of unemployment in the country, such an exercise was suspended to next year when the ruling NDC retains power.
The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) had initially rejected the IEA Presidential and vice Presidential debates in the run up to the 2012 general elections.
Its Propaganda Secretary, Richard Quashigah, said precedence had been set in which the sitting president does not partake in the debates. He added that the debate was not an effective platform to market President Mills and the NDC’s achievements.
The reason for the boycott, according the NDC’s Propaganda Secretary, was that a precedence has been set in which the sitting President does not partake in the debates. But Mr. Richard Quashigah did not end there. He said on an Accra-based radio station that the IEA Presidential Debate was not an effective platform to market President Mills and the NDC’s achievements ahead of the 2012 elections.
But President Mahama’s decision to participate in the debate was hailed by political connoisseurs as the best, which would afford Ghanaians to probe the policies he intends introducing when given the nod to rule the country.
Short URL: http://thechronicle.com.gh/?p=48628