ECG Staff Reject MD’s One-Man Proposal
A unilateral proposal by the managing director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Samuel Dubik Masubir Mahama, that the company is considering to outsource its debt collection drive to private companies has been rejected by the workers, even before the idea could be put into action.
They argued that though the idea is laudable, the outcome would not be beneficial to the state power distributor, as such collected revenues would only end up in certain private pockets in the end.
The workers, mainly senior staff who spoke on condition of anonymity to the paper, have vowed to resist the move, because the over GH¢2 billion recovered from its defaulting customers was done by the staff and, therefore, they can still retrieve the remaining if resources are provided and staff motivated.
“My brother, our people have started their thing again. What is the MD talking about? The over GH¢2 billion out of GH¢5.7 billion retrieved, was it collected by any private companies. Is it his personal proposal or the board of directors are behind? We’ll resist it,” one of the staff members vowed.
Others are also of the view that until they know the true owners and the details of the commission regarding such contract, they will not endorse it.
The ECG MD, while speaking on Accra-based Joy FM on Tuesday, April 18, 2023,saidbecause all the money owed the company cannot be retrieved in the stipulated time, it would be subcontracted to be collected on behalf of ECG, after its ongoing exercise ends on Friday, this week.
He said, “There is a possibility that we might even sell the debt to private institutions to go and collect. It is something that we are considering because we’ve gotten to the point where we need all the help we can get.”
“So, if it means discounting it to other companies and then getting what we need, why not, so it is something on the table worth considering,” he said.
But insiders told The Anchor, the proposal by the MD is just another flimsy attempt to cripple the fortunes of the company, since its taskforce has already demonstrated they can retrieve the debts.
They wondered where the idea to outsource the debt collection to third parties came from.
According to sources, ever since the current management took over, there have been intensive maneuvering by certain elements to cut corners.
They insisted that, the over 800 contract staff, who are meter readers and bill distributors, can equally be tasked to retrieve the remaining debts, if management takes good care of them with juicy incentives.
Meanwhile, the Samuel Dubik Mahama-led management has eaten a humble by increasing the salary of the aggrieved meter readers by 50 per cent, following publications by The Anchor.
The increment was announced on Tuesday, April 18, after the paper’s publication regarding plans by the field staff to lay down their tools over poor conditions of service.
The threat, according to the workers, became necessary after several pleas to management to adjust their paltryGH₵1,000 monthly salaries have yielded no result.
The issue of poor conditions of service for these meter readers has been common knowledge to management and has been on the table for years without any attempt to tackle it, even before the current MD was appointed and briefed subsequently.
Interestingly, the officers are also not entitled to any allowances, like transport, medical bills and provident fund, a situation they lamented has demoralized them for years.
According to the field officers, after weeks of leading the company’s ongoing taskforce on empty stomach because their salaries are not enough, to retrieve millions of debts from customers, management is still adamant and not willing to address their issues of poor conditions of service.
What has further deepened the anger of the workers is a threat they received from the managing director, cautioning them to practically shut up from talking to the media, else the outcome of what would happen will be “unpleasant.”
The MD, after a series of publications by The Anchor revealing the plights of the workers, hurriedly sent a WhatsApp message to the chairman of the Meter Readers Union, Isaac Kofi Osei, to caution their members.
The message, which has been intercepted by The Anchor, reads, “Osei, pls tell your colleagues to follow the company’s guidelines to seek redress else the outcome won’t be pleasant. Good morning. Thx.”
But parts of the over 800 contract workers struggle which they have been pushing for years came to an end when their bank accounts were credited with 50 per cent increment, though they said it was inadequate.