Monday, 11 March 2013

Where's Joe?

I read this article on Ghanaweb, as I always do. It's about the fact that Ghana wastes 1 billion Ghana cedis each year on ghost workers. Now if you are familiar with Ghanaian movies, you would know that there is a strong belief that the dead can walk among us without us knowing that they are dead. My mum and aunties have often joked about the taxi-man reports of ghosts hitching rides in a certain part of Accra.

If this 1 billion cedis was being spent on ghosts who don't know how to play dead and stay dead I would totally understand, but for some reason, this money is being paid to people who are definitely not coming into work in the morning. Can someone ask, please, why we feel the need to pay people who aren't turning up to work? It is not at all difficult, Joe comes to work everyday for 10 years, one day Joe doesn't come in, his boss doesn't call to find out where he is cos in Ghana people will just assume he's in a casual bout with malaria. Joe is not there for 2, 3, 4 days. The above is assumed because "malaria... mtchewww enye easy". Ghana loves its funerals so no doubt SOMEONE in the office would know that Joe has sadly died and that the appropriate attire is black and brown. Maybe the boss doesn't know. Surely the boss realises (dead or alive) Joe hasn't been in the office for 2 weeks. Does he not send a message to Joe via post, phone or person? Joe's family are too upset, they don't respond, fine. But come on, if after 3/4 weeks you definitely don't know what has happened to Joe, why are you still going to pay him? Has the work been done? Even if it has, has HE done the work? No. Only in Ghana* do people expect (dead or alive) to get paid for work not done. That's probably why so many aspects of the public sector is in chaos.

This yet another form of corruption. Forget complaining about the amount Chris Brown comes to disrespect our common values, forget scrutinising the Black Stars' budget every 2 years, think about how many schools, clinics and roads we might build with the billions of cedis lost in the past decade alone simply because for some reason we still want to pay people who don't show up for work!

*I know it's not only in Ghana, but enjoy that lovely saying that so many Ghanaians use to internalise our failings to epic proportions like the rest of the world is perfect until you get to Ghana.

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