Zoomlion Clears Air on payment to sanitation staff

Zoomlion Ghana Limited (ZGL) has backed government over its move to review the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) Sanitation Module of the Youth Employment Programme (YEP) to serve as a blueprint for other modules going forward.

Addressing a press conference in Accra last Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer of YEA, Justin Koduah, announced that it had become imperative for the new administration to look into the operations of the main service provider-Zoomlion-under the YEA sanitation module.

He described as “unfair” salaries paid by Zoomlion workers under the sanitation module.

But in a statement signed and issued by the Communication Directorate of Zoomlion and copied to Today yesterday, the company spelt out some clarifications on the matter.

On the matter of disparities in reported beneficiary numbers versus physical count, the statement explained that Zoomlion’s number was captured in an album with the names, pictures and other details of beneficiaries for verification purposes.

“The shortfall however, occurred as a result of a mixture of reasons, which the CEO of YEA, Mr Justin Kodua Frimpong, has himself alluded to in a couple of media interviews,” it said.

According to the statement, prior to the Agency’s exercise, there had been series of headcount exercises conducted by the Agency’s regional and district representatives together with Zoomlion Ghana Limited, District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) directorate, and the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) and Zoomlion Ghana Limited within a period of two (2) months with the objective of ascertaining the true numbers of the beneficiaries.

In all these exercises, the statement noted that beneficiaries had to commute back and forth from their communities to the district capitals.

This, the statement attributed to the comparatively low turnout as compared to the numbers of beneficiaries in the album provided.

“Late arrival or ‘no show’ of the Head count team from the Agency to some of the centres. This situation led to most of the beneficiaries leaving the centres out of frustration. A situation which seriously accounted for the team not meeting all beneficiaries to get them to be counted,” it said.

According to the statement, the short notice to the beneficiaries by the Agency upon the team’s arrival in the district caused beneficiaries in the hinterlands to miss the headcount.

An example of this, the statement disclosed, happened in Ejura Sekyere-Dumase District.

It pointed out that most of the communities had means of transport to the district capital only on market days “therefore it became difficult to travel to the district capital when it is not a market day a case in point is Bole-Bamboi and Bunkpurugu Yooyoo Districts in the Northern Region.”

The statement went on to explain that the beneficiaries also had challenges regarding payment for transportation to headcount centres at the district/municipal capitals and this greatly affected the turnout of beneficiaries to the exercise.

It mentioned that Zoomlion spent more hours spanning a day to two days at a particular headcount centre to ensure that no one was left out compared to the Agency which spent few hours in a day and hurriedly counted beneficiaries they met and left this resulting in the discrepancy.

Since the inception of the Programme in 2006, under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), the statement indicated that Zoomlion had never issued any appointment letter to any beneficiary under the sanitation module.

It said per a Management Service Agreement employment of the beneficiaries was the sole responsibility of the Agency who then has the mandate to issue appointment letters.

The statement said the decision to pay beneficiaries GH¢100 per month out of the GH¢500 Management fee was not the initiative of Zoomlion Ghana limited.

“In fact, at the inception of the module in 2006, beneficiaries were receiving GH¢50 per month, it was the management of Zoomlion that initiated the move for the allowance to be increased to GH¢100. So the same Agency which set the initial amount is the only one that has the authority to change it,” it stressed.

Further to the Management Service Agreement, Zoomlion stated that the GH¢400 management fee which has not been reviewed since 2011, goes into the procurement of logistics for the delivery of the service by the YEA operatives.

It said the assumption that this money goes into the pocket of the service provider was therefore very erroneous.

“The following are some of the logistics the money goes to buy: Wheel barrows, shovels, brooms, rakes, cutlasses, alley brooms, jackets, spades, uniforms, hand gloves, nose masks, reflective jackets, safety boots, pickers, street brush, road cones etc. These are supplied regularly and are all paid for from the management fee.

“Apart from these, vehicles to carry supervisory staff including fuelling the vehicles are all covered from the Management Fee,” the statement further explained.

Zoomlion has for countless years had to pre-finance the payment of these allowances of beneficiaries by borrowing money at high interest rates but at no cost to the government due to delays of  its payment. Presently, payments to the company are in arrears of over four years running in millions of cedis.

The company has since 2006, religiously submitted quarterly and annual reports to the management of the YEA, and has never had any correspondence from the Agency acknowledging receipt or questioning the quality of work being done.

Zoomlion Ghana Limited has over the past 12 years been at the forefront of ensuring that Ghana is clean, green and healthy.

Over, this period the company has built experience, capacity and logistics to serve the country in as much as we can to ensure that the President’s vision of making everyday a sanitation day and Accra the cleanest city in Africa a reality.

By dint of hard work and its service excellence, the company, which has won several awards both local and international, has had operations in other countries including Angola, Zambia, Togo, Equatorial Guinea and Liberia.


Story: News DESK

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