FOR FEAR of victimization and upright dismissal, hundreds of beneficiaries of the Better Ghana Management Services Limited in the Upper East Region have nowhere to turn to, for their nine months unpaid allowances, except to endure the unbearable current economic hardship in silence.
Since the Better Ghana Management Services (BGMS) recruited beneficiaries in 2012, it had never paid them regular allowances, a development which has stressed their respective families. Senior High School leavers among them who had also planned to better their papers and subsequently further their education could no longer do so because they could not afford fees for remedial classes.
The last time beneficiaries received one month allowance was in December last year, and that was for the month of May 2013. Each beneficiary was on an allowance of GH¢ 350. Therefore, the total amount owed each of them for the nine months period is GH¢ 3,150.
Unfortunately, because of threat of dismissal or victimization, the workers are unable to come together to fight for their rights. Those who mustered the courage to demand what was legitimately due them were punished by management through the withholding of their allowances.
It would be recalled that BGMS Ltd in 2012 recruited and trained mainly the youth as auxiliary health workers, most of whom were already trained and serving as Health Extension Workers, under the then National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), which has now been renamed Ghana Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).
Their services in the health facilities could not be underestimated as they were found in almost every unit, including OPD, consulting room, injection rooms, Health Insurance units, records, accounts and maternity.
What appears to have exacerbated the plight of these workers is that they have not been given any appointment letters, even though some of them have worked for over two years.
When the government of Ghana recently terminated the contract of BGMS as a service provider, its Regional Coordinator in the Upper East, Mr. Daniel Darko, went round on monitoring and assured the beneficiaries that they were not affected and that they should continue to work.
When asked why the company had not paid the beneficiaries, Mr. Darko could not answer. He was quick to add that “I have not also been paid”. Though the Coordinator denied the company owed the beneficiaries nine months allowance, he would not tell how many months they had not been paid.
When this reporter called the National Operations Manager of BGMS Ltd, whose name was only given as Mr. Akye, and introduced himself as a reporter with The Chronicle newspaper, he cut the call and refused to pick subsequent calls put through his line.
Beneficiaries in other regions were said to be faced with the same plight as our checks revealed they have also not been paid for the past nine months. Despite all these difficulties, recruitment is said to be on-going.