ATL production stalls over no funeral syndrome
The Director of Finance and Administration of Akosombo Industrial Company Limited (AICL), Mr Justice Asiedu Boateng says his outfit derives sales mainly from the production of funeral and institutional clothes to keep the wheel of company running.
Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle to react to an allegation that AITCL was discriminating against the workers living in the Manya and Upper Krobo municipalities, Mr Boateng regretted that the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the temporary ban on social gatherings, including funerals, had affected the mass production of mourning clothes thereby affecting the finances of the company.
Workers of the textile company living at Kpong, Somanya, Odumase among others have been asked to stop coming to work. The workers have interpreted this to mean a restriction on their movement by the government, because of the fear that the Covid-19 virus is wide spread in the area.
The Eastern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has, however, dismissed the claim that it has imposed movement restrictions on the employees. Kpong has recorded a number of the Coronavirus cases among expatriate workers of the company undertaking the construction of the Tema-Mpakadan railway.
A highly placed source at the regional security body, who pleaded anonymity, told the paper that in the wake of the discovery of some of the expatriates contracting the disease, and to prevent the spread, the affected persons were quarantined in their camp amid tight security.
The source continued that when the aggressive community tests were conducted in the three towns, no case was reported. The Chronicle investigations, however, uncovered that it was the management of AICL, which directed the company’s employees from Lower Manya Krobo and Yilo Krobo to stay home, pending further instructions.
The Director of Finance and Administration AICL, Mr Justice Asiedu Boateng, in a telephone conversation, told the paper that the directive was not to discriminate against anybody, but for strategic reasons.
According to him, there is no embargo on any worker, irrespective of the community one is coming from, and that the company is concerned about the plight of the workers, hence, is paying those both at home and at work.
Mr Boateng said to cut costs and play its role to ensure the global social distancing policy, the company adopted the method of allowing its staff living far from the plant to stay at home, since transporting them in large numbers to the site would also breach the protocol.
Mr Boateng hinted that the company had a contract to produce material for the Ministry of Health for nose masks.
The paper, in its quest to get to the bottom, discovered that the global economic slowdown affecting industries as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted on the textile establishment, which employs about 800 workers.
This has resulted in the reduction of demand for products of the company. To manage this, the The Chronicle investigations revealed that AICL had introduced a number of strategies to reduce overhead costs, while ensuring servicing of the current debt overhangs.
The company is using proceeds from minor production to service liabilities with the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) among others.
The enquiries revealed that the two lifeline departments, Spinning and Weaving, with the greater chunk of the workforce, have been closed down since last year, and that the workers have been forced on the Printing Department, which does not require such a huge number of staff to operate.
It was gathered that production had been reduced to one-tenth of total production.
The once pride of the nation is seriously in need of financial oxygen to sustain it for the coming months. The paper, in a covert investigation, came face to face with the challenges mounted on the shoulders of the former owners of the defunct sensational Akotex Football Club of the seventies.
To resuscitate the company, insider sources contend, it would involve commitment from the Government of Ghana, since the original owners have packed and left, leaving behind obsolete machinery for the present new owners to battle with.