Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Government owes us for eight months – Zoomlion

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Kwame Gyan addressing the press
Leading waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, has disclosed that the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), formerly the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), has lagged behind in eight months of arrears in management fees, which is far above the one month agreed period as stipulated in their contract.

The company said despite this setback in its agreement with the government agency, it has tried to keep the programme going, sometimes to its discomfiture, paying interest in loans contracted from the banks for as much as 30% and at present owes participants in the programme two months in allowances.
Responding to recent allegations of impropriety levelled against Zoomlion Ghana Limited and a subsidiary company, Better Ghana Management Services (BGMS) in sections of the Ghanaian media at a press conference in Accra, May 28, 2013, senior staff of the company led by legal adviser and a director of the Jospong Group of Companies, Kwame Gyan, indicated that contrary to assertions that the company was receiving as much as GH₵ 500 from government per individual in the programme, while it only paid GH₵ 100 as allowances to them, they had no hand in determining what participants in the programme took.

“As provided for in the contract between Zoomlion and NYEP/GYEEDA, the Government determines both the beneficiary allowances and the management fees due to the Service Provider,” Kwame Gyan said.

Saying presentations and comments made so far had created an impression of a company milking dry the national camel, Kwame Gyan in his statement explained; “What we call the sanitation module of the erstwhile National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), which is now under the auspices of the GYEEDA was actually the brainchild of Zoomlion, even though there was a government policy to provide employment opportunities for the youth. The actual implementation and how to deliver on it was Zoomlion’s idea.”

“In the year that Zoomlion engaged in the NYEP before it became GYEEDA, fees that were payable for managing the programme were set in 2006 at GH₵ 350. This range of fees never saw an increase until about 2011,” he stated.

The Zoomlion spokesperson stressed that “There are core Zoomlion staff and non-core staff who are managed by Zoomlion. So the persons who participate - in some documents they are described as participants, in other areas they are described as beneficiaries. These persons are not employees of Zoomlion Ghana Limited and they are also not employees of Better Ghana Management Services Limited. So it is not Zoomlion or Better Ghana Management Services that determine how much they are paid.”   

What we do is to make proposals for Government regarding management of the project, he said. “And what is approved is what comes to us and it is disbursed according to the itemised expenditures,” Kwame Gyan divulged.

He emphasised that technically participants of the GYEEDA programme are employees of Government and Zoomlion only manages them on behalf of the Republic of Ghana, adding that what Government pays the company is used for protective gear like boots, uniforms and gloves among others and working implements as well as for repairs and maintenance.

Money received also goes into medical bills and general welfare, as well as administrative costs including renting and furnishing of premises across the country for the programme, according to the waste management company.

“So at the end of the day, it is not like Zoomlion and its subsidiaries take GH₵ 500 and give the so called poor people GH₵ 100 and pocket the GH₵ 400,” Lawyer Kwame Gyan reiterated.

He divulged too that none of the Zoomlion core staff numbering over 3,000 are paid GH₵ 100 as their monthly salary.  

Touching on issues raised in the media about Better Ghana Management Services contract with GYEEDA, Zoomlion stated that provident fund payment for beneficiaries has been resolved by the law courts and henceforth beneficiaries’ contributions will be deducted from source when government is paying BGMS as directed by the court.

Kwame Gyan also corrected that allowances for beneficiaries was not GH₵ 50 as stated in media reports but ranges between GH₵ 55 to GH₵ 205 depending on a person’s qualification and is determined by Government.

It will be recalled that a Joy News report last week on the Youth in Sanitation module stated that “Manasseh investigates the Youth in Sanitation module, which GYEEDA runs in partnership with Zoomlion Ghana Limited and reveals government pays GH₵ 500 per beneficiary every month. But out of that, only GH₵ 100 is paid to the beneficiaries monthly. Zoomlion keeps the rest, GH₵ 400, as management fees.”

“A contract signed by the then Minister for Youth and Sports, Clement Kofi Humado in March, 2011 and sighted by Joy FM pegged Zoomlion Management fee per beneficiary at GH₵ 300 per month and beneficiary allowance at GH₵ 50.”

“In November that same year, then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, signed a document, in which the beneficiary allowance was increased from 50 cedis to 100 cedis and Zoomlion’s management fees moved from 300 to GH₵400.00,” the report stated among other things.

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