Local Government Service charges workers Gh¢6,000 each for interview preparation

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There is a seething anger in Ghana’s Local Government Service because 240 of the workers are to cough up  Gh¢6,000 each for a promotion-interview training.

The directive to pay the money is from the Office of the Head of the Local Government Service (OHLGS), according to a letter sighted by The Fourth Estate.

The letter says the money is meant for organising “a 3-day High-Level Residential Refresher Training Workshop to prepare the officers for the impending interview”.

The Local Government Service has directed the candidates to pay the money into an Absa Bank Gh Ltd account by Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

“The amount will be used to cater for the training materials, accommodation, feeding as well as the administrative cost of the interview,” the letter explains.

Some local government service workers are angry about the content of the letter because those to be interviewed take less than Gh¢4,000 home at the end of the month, and the amount being charged was almost twice their monthly salaries.

“This country is on Fire!”

Some employees of the Local Government Service have told The Fourth Estate that the service was using the so-called interview preparation to extort money from employees. According to them, the service knew the employees desperately needed promotion and could not afford to be left out.

“This ought not to be. This is robbery. The last time they did this thing, they took Gh¢4,500 from everyone. They took Gh¢4,500 from each of those who are working as District Coordinating Directors currently before they promoted them to directors. They forced them to pay,” an employee who did not want to be named told The Fourth Estate.

“Later, they took Gh¢5,000 each from another batch of workers. I don’t know what has emboldened them this time to increase that amount to Gh¢6,000 in this Ghana.”

Another official believed that the authorities who instituted the cash-for-seat-promotion scheme did not live through such “an oppressive system” themselves when their promotions were due.

“This is just a way to hide behind something and rob the people. This country is on fire! We need a voice,” she said.

“This is not new,” Local Government Service reacts

 

Chief  Director, Local Government Service, James Oppong Mensah

When The Fourth Estate reached out to the Local Government Service on the matter, the Chief Director, James Oppong Mensah, confirmed that the letter was authentic. He said the amount each potential interviewee was supposed to pay was, indeed, Gh¢6,000.

He said the service had charged Gh¢5,000 for the previous interview preparation workshop, but this year the hotels had increased their prices so the Service increased the fee for the interviewees.

When asked about the proposed venue for the training and who the facilitators would be, the Chief Director said he would not disclose that to The Fourth Estate.

He was unhappy that the employees had expressed their disapproval to the media instead of the management of the Local Government Service.

“They should have regard for the Service. Why should they go to a journalist?” he told Manasseh Azure Awuni at the head office of the Local Government Service in Accra.

“It’s not compulsory. They are not under compulsion to pay,” he said, adding that if someone was not able to pay the money and attend the preparation, they would still be allowed to take part in the interview.

When asked whether he did not see the amount being charged as very high, the Chief Director said even if the employees felt it was high, they had to use the right approach. They could have reached out to the Local Government Service for a negotiation, instead of going to the media.

“Payment and participation is almost compulsory”

Some staff of the Local Government Service, however, say the payment is almost compulsory. They say those who are not able to pay could easily be targeted and victimized.

A planning officer expressed fears things might get worse for his colleagues in the local government service if schemes of this nature were not stopped.

“It doesn’t happen. You don’t have to go and pay for any promotion. Where are they going to get that Gh¢6,000? The truth of it is that it is robbery,” he said.

“Gh¢6,000 multiplied by 240 people; that is one Gh¢1,440,000. That is a lot of money. If people can now go for promotion interview and they have to pay this, where are we taking the country to?”

Deprived communities will bear the brunt

Deprived communities will eventually suffer the “pointless and extortionate” demands directed at the workers who are due for elevation in the Local Government Service, a top-ranking official told The Fourth Estate.

“The net salary of Deputy Directors, after-tax and SSNIT deductions, is not up to Gh¢4,000. And you are asking them to pay Gh¢6,000 for a promotion interview,” he said.

“After they have paid this money and have become Coordinating Directors, they are going to take public funds to pay back the money you unjustifiably took from them for the promotion interview.”

“The job of a District Coordinating Director is to implement government policies and projects― provide water, schools, et cetera. The money that is supposed to be used for water, they are coming to find a way to inflate the contract sums and claim it. The ripple effect will be on the community people. These are the things that corrupt the whole nation, making the cost of everything high. These are the things,” he lamented.

 

22 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Manessah,

    It is very unfortunate that a government agency should charge it’s employees money to train them prior to interviews to get promotions. I understand from a colleague HR professional in the Assembly that the assembly pays (tax payers funds) for the workers to attend such training, then when they get their promotions and salary reviews, they will pocket the money.

    Why should the state fund such an exercise? In my view, it is pure thievery. It is a practice that should cease immediately.

    Thank you.

  2. This is a broad day light robbery. It’s obvious those who refuse or are unable to cough the said amount would be victimized. It’s sad and pathetic. The people who would pay the money would find a way of recouping their money after they are promoted.

    This is promotion for sale

  3. Also try and find out what they take to give appointments to helpless and hapless boys and girls.

    • Absolutely! The most recent massive recruitment of senior staff of the Service involved payment by candidates,rather than merit by examination. Iam informed that some HND holders got recruited as Assistant Directors of Administration due to the nature of the selection process. Building capacity of Deputy Directors is a legitimate responsibility of the Service and the cost is normally budgeted for by the Service. The Service must be more than a recruitment unit of the Ministry.

  4. I hear the leadership takes as much as 15,000 to post someone as District Co-ordinating Director. Those who are not able to pay are made to suffer. A subordinate officer can become a District Co-ordinating Director if he pays. This particular group of leadership has destroyed the Local Government Service.

    • Well done Azure.
      I am personally grateful to you for this beginning of correcting messes in the Local Goverment ( MMDAs). I strongly believe that if MMDAs are excellent in delivery about 90% Ghana’s problems are solved. MMDAs make up Ghana Regions, Municipals, Districts and Communities.
      Why are the laws of Ghana not working in the Local Government Service ?
      Azure, please help!

  5. Instead of the service fighting for better working conditions for their staff, hmmmm..

    Local government service staffs take the least salaries in the public sector in Ghana..
    VRA, GRA, junior staff takes twice the salary of Deputy Director of local government service.

  6. 1st Degree holder in VRA takes net salary around Ghc9,500.00 and Deputy Director on local government service takes around Ghc3,500.00

    1st degree holder in COCOBOD takes home a net salary around Ghc7,000.00 , SSNIT around Ghc6,000.00, ECG around Ghc6,000.00, GRIDCO around Ghc8,000.00…

    Meanwhile a 1st degree holder in local government service takes home a net salary of Ghc1,900.00..

    This is very bad.

  7. Has anyone of u considered why working at the local government looks like wastage.
    These workers implement ideas from politicians,technocrats, brilliant minds,not only do the take a chicken change as salaries but also denied proper care and good condition of service. A politician ex gratia is 6 x better than his or her pension pay ,how do u expect proper implementation at the local level.
    The training is in the right direction but the service must charge the respective MMDAs to pay for it.yheir expect delivery affect the MMDAs first.

  8. This is legalizing corruption. Complete thievery. Mother ghana is in trouble. Ghc 6000 is two months salary of the deputy director. How do u expect them to feed their families when they use two months salary to pay for a 3day interview training? Of course they will take the money from the state directly or indirectly. Sad.

  9. Please, who told you the interview is for promotion to the Grade of Coordinating Director? You have your facts wrong!

    The interview is for promotion to Directors and Analogous Grades!

    Your reportage seems to indict the competence of Coordinating Directors. What you should know is that Coordinating Director is a Grade above Director in the Local Government and Civil Services.

    Coordinating Directors go through a rigorous interview process to be promoted. The last promotion interview saw over 30 of our colleagues failing.

    Also, don’t throw dust into the eyes of the public by making this seems to be a Regime specific. Paying for the cost of interview by interviewees has been with us since 2010! And the fact that one has paid doesn’t guarantee his/her passing the interview. People fail interviews in all the Classes every year!!!

    So, the assertion that Promotion is for Sale in the Local Government Service is a falacy based on a hasty conclusion!

  10. Manasseh I can’t pouring blessing on you.
    In fact you have no idea the kind of relief you have brought to people.
    I spoke to one of the shortlisted officers and it was hell. He showed me his payslip and his net was around 1500 Cedis due to loans. His rent is due and his children fees he hasn’t paid. So his trouble now is how to mobilize such an amount and the fear of being victimized if he is unable to pay.

  11. What at all in God’s name are we doing to ourselves as a country.Sometimes my heart get saddened when other countries are looking for ways to make life comfortable for its citizens in all aspect, we here in Ghana are looking for ways to put suffering on ourselves.
    Sometimes I wonder if we can ever develop as a country. Sorry to say so.

  12. This is Absolute, Day-time Thievery! It’s SHAMEFUL that Top Personnel in Public Office. Are Behaving Like This.

    Public Monies are stolen with IMPUNITY.
    Now Another Debacle of OPEN PICK-POCKET.

    WHERE LIES THE CONSCIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT???

  13. This thing happens at all levels of promotions in the assembly, even those who only go for promotion Interview with any training prior to the interview also pay money for interviews

  14. It’s unfortunate the public purse protectors are engaged in these acts openly. The most painful thing is that, when these things are known no one pays for the crime. Ghana is not safe. This is where the tax payers money goes, their packets.

  15. This is to say the least, shameful and disgusting. Thank you The 4th Estate foe exposing the
    Is extortion.
    Shortlisted candidates being asked to pay for pre-interview training, how? The fact that the Institute of Local government studies is lost in all this, makes the whole arrangement strange and extortionate. The institute was established to build the capacity of Local government service staff and practitioners same as pertains at the Civil service training centre.
    The Chief Director who’s also at the centre of many allegations of selling postings and appointments at the OHLGS needs to be investigated.
    It’s time to clean up the mess and shame at the service.

  16. Please, who told you the interview is for promotion to the Grade of Coordinating Director? You have your facts wrong!

    The interview is for promotion to Directors and Analogous Grades!

    Your reportage seems to indict the competence of Coordinating Directors. What you should know is that Coordinating Director is a Grade above Director in the Local Government and Civil Services.

    Coordinating Directors go through a rigorous interview process to be promoted. The last promotion interview saw over 30 of our colleagues failing.

    Also, don’t throw dust into the eyes of the public by making this to seem to be a Regime specific. Paying for the cost of interview by interviewees has been with us and precedes this Administration! And the fact that one has paid doesn’t guarantee his/her passing the interview. People fail interviews in all the Classes every year!!!

    So, the assertion that Promotion is for Sale in the Local Government Service is a falacy based on a hasty conclusion!

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