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Business News Fri, 25 Aug 2017

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Thermal plants sale: Government didn’t ‘swerve’ VRA staff – Kwaku Kwarteng

A Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, has refuted assertions the government blindsided staff of Volta River Authority (VRA) with its advertised the sale of a majority stake in specified thermal plants owned by the VRA.

For one, the Minister argued on Eyewitness News that government’s plans were contained in the budget statement which was in the public domain.

“The people including representatives of the workers have looked at this budget statement. Nobody should pretend that this was some strange policy that was sprung on Ghanaians,” Mr. Kwarteng asserted.

“There has been consultation with many stakeholders on this subject. During the budget preparation, we spoke with many experts,” he added.

The government also engaged with “some of the senior level officers of VRA” and some of these engagements “have been running for years,” Mr. Kwarteng said.

“You cannot always go down and organize workers’ forums and say that this is what government wants to do; do you agree?… This new requirement that anytime you are making a decision on any entity, you need to go and organise public forum with the workers there is strange to me.”

Surprised staff

The Senior Staff Association of VRA, had, noted to Citi News that the advert came as a surprise to all the staff of the VRA.

“We were not consulted. We were not engaged in any way so we have no input in what the government is trying to do,” Cephas Duse, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of VRA stated.

Mr. Kwarteng, however, extended an olive branch, saying the government was ready to explain its position to the VRA staff.

“We are happy to engage the workers and to explain the rationale for these decisions and that it is for the good energy sector that we are taking these steps. That kind of engagement, we are willing to do.”

“But the suggestion that we should have sought the approval of workers before proceeding, and that if anybody disagrees with government policy then somehow there is a problem with the policy, is something I do not accept.”

Source: citifmonline.com

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