Feature Article of Saturday, 18 September 2010
Columnist: Kojo, Frank
... Or The Fair Wages And Salaries Commission
The response from the immigration PRO has generated a lot of upset and uproar in the Ghana Immigration Service, presently the Director and Management are meeting to address the problems his comments has caused. Personnel from the PRO unit are also up in arms against the politically styled self acclaimed public relation officer without training. It is interesting to note that the substantive PRO who was employed specifically for that job has been moved from the department to the receiving counter to perform general immigration duties even though she was employed as professional PRO. Now to the main issue of contention the single spine salary structure.
Officers and Men of the service have these general feeling that the present GIS administration has let them down big time. The truth is that Prison and Fire service officers are placed higher than immigration officers in the new pay structure a situation which has caused various agitations among the rank and file of officers in the service. The directors have had to come in with various explanations to avert a possible explosive situation over the past few weeks. While the Police service, Fire and Prison services have qualified and experienced officers to bring out time tested presentations and proposals, same cannot be said of the Immigration service. The service is saddled with persons who have no paper qualification or the requisite competence to fight for our course. It has unfortunately been the case for a long time now and so some of us are not amused about what is happening now .Before SSSS officers of the above mentioned institutions were better off in terms of salaries and other conditions of service than immigration officers the trend is continuous under the present salary dispensation.
The management of immigration lack direction and purpose, they always look up to other security services before pursuing a course of action of their own and even when they do, they are unable to pursue it to its conclusive end. To name but a few: the border patrol unit which was created over four years ago with a strong cabinet approval and backing at the time still does not have a statutory underpinnings in terms of legislative or executive instrument duly establishing it in other words it is illegal. The service has failed to bring up appropriate documentations by way of clearly spelt out blueprint or work breakdown structure or standard operating procedures indicating our capacity to effectively patrol the country’s borders. But for the magnanimity and dedication of the present minister of the interior the service would have been wielding weapons illegally.
It is in fact interesting that passport processing has been taken completely from immigration service and the same incompetent service they want the good people of Ghana to believe are called upon to train officials from the ministry of foreign affairs to go and carry out our hitherto function, how funny. “Who born dog”? The service applied to be upgraded to the status of director generalship some six years ago long before the police service introduced their own style or version of ranking, of which Kofi Boakye and Ashante Apiatu were upgraded to the ranks of director general operations and CID respectively, immigration is still waiting on God to grant their request. Management started talking about approval of certain allowances that other security services are enjoying and of which immigration officers were not some four years ago, till date the said allowances have not arrived.
How on earth can you justify that a police constable performs more duties than a sector commander of immigration who has on the average over 150 officers and men under his or her jurisdiction... what argument at all did the police bring up that immigration could not to warrant this disgraceful disparity? The service has no senior officers association the reason being that any time the association is formed members who a perceived to be active are transferred to the “BUSH” so when meetings are called no one attends, those who attend do not contribute to the discussion for the simple fear of been victimize. The intolerance of management was shown when the late Amanor a former internal auditor of the service raised some queries on the frivolous expenditure of the director (she had employed private security service to guard her home. If she did not have the confidence that immigration officers could guard her home how then can she justify that we can guard the borders of this country) he was pursued so hard that he had to resign.
unfortunately few months after communicating his intentions to resign he passed away ... his resignation was not accepted and even in his death he was tried and officers who were on duty the night he allegedly travelled outside the country without permission several years before the incidence were also queried. The condition of service of immigration officers is so bad and over the years has gotten "bader". While a DSP in the police service enjoys free accommodation, free duty vehicle, free utilities among other allowances the immigration officer pays for his own accommodation, no duty vehicle and when he uses his own vehicle fuel is not provided coupled with the fact that our salary is a fraction of the police officer. In fact even the line yard and the crown which the officers use are bought by them. We are provided one uniforms one pair of boot one barrette without crown and one belt.
I joined the service several years ago, the pair of boot that I was given to use for my passing out parade is what I am still using. The irony of the whole situation is that nobody talks for us. A friend of mine who saw my pay slip said I have doctored the figures, he exclaimed and queried that how can you people be paid this low and still ride in nice Cars? I burst out laughing so uncontrollably that he joined me in my moment of madness all I could say was you are right but did not proceed to attempt or hazard any explanation. Nice cars yes but how do we get them? your guess is right what do you expect the young man who is paid 124 Ghana cedi a month and asked to appear at his duty post every day regardless of where he sleeps and how he transport himself or herself to work.
We are talking about people who are exposed to money and other avenues to make same. It was not for nothing that some young female officers were reported to be involved in prostitution in Sunyani. Whilst not trying to justify these criminal behaviours it is also important to seek to address the under current. The director of immigration undoubtedly is the longest serving director of the service as well as the longest serving security head in the country. The million dollar question is where did she meet immigration when she assumed office and where has she taken us to. I do sometimes appreciate her short comings after all she is just a human, unfortunately however, she has surrounded herself with highly incompetent greedy men whose capacity to think critically and analyses issues dispassionately is so impaired and skewed to the point of absurdity.
They masquerade in religious sycophancy and draw her along. Just find out what has become of retired senior immigration officers. The most past deputy directors of immigration are connection men to be charitable ` boy boy ‘of foreign nationals in the country.
They failed to upgrade themselves while in active service and also failed to work for the improvement of the condition of service because of the hampers and brides they were receiving from the Chinese, Indians, Lebanese and persons from South America. These nationals are specifically mentioned because their tendency to engage in unlawful immigration practices is very high.
Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
I hold the opinion that the chairman or commissioner or who or whatever he holds himself to be lacks the competence to appreciate the functions and duties of a typical immigration officer.
Countries all over the world are reconstructing and restructuring their immigration systems and apparatus in response to the growing threats of cross-border crimes and the escalating incidence of cybercrimes and terrorism Ghana is pursuing policies of disintegration and under playing the role of immigration.
To attempt to list the litany of schedules immigration officers perform will be a job in futility. However let’s ponder over the following:
• Do we recall the perpetrators of the US bombings on September 11? What of the bombing in Europe (Spain and the UK) were they national of the affected countries?
• How well was South America Cocaine Baron received in Ghana?
• What percentage of Ghanaian’s GDP Comes from tourism and transport receipts?
• What are some of the benefits of immigration to Ghana? Are there any consequences?
• Does transnational crime pose any threat to the economy and security of Ghana?
• Do arm robbers procure their supply of arms in Ghana? What role does a free border contribute to this?
• Is prostitution a crime? What of child trafficking? Are all the prostitutes in Ghana Ghanaians if not what percentage is non-Ghanaian?
• Foreign Direct Investment what role does immigration play in promoting it? Is their role critical?
I can go on and on and on, the difficulty however is how many people have the trained mind to appreciate it.
It hurts when the work of immigration is reduced to stamping passports. The role immigration plays in economic development is immeasurable. It is so surprising that in this present day and time where globalization is assuming both positive and negative tendencies and countries strategizing to tap into the benefit while at the same time insulate itself from its negative repercussions through strengthening its border operatives, Ghana is doing the opposite.
Sometimes one is tempted to believe that the NDC government is out to “finish immigration”. While in opposition, members of the party were very uncharitable when ever immigration issues came up. The present minister of communication Haruna Iddrisu, Baba Jamal and his boss were some of the very loud critics of the service.
The first action the government pursued when it assumed office was to alienate immigration from passport processing, followed by the stoppage of all projects initiated by the service under the former administration and now single spine.
What does the “Fair” in the fair wages and salary commission mean? To me it means the disregard for academic Excellency, “myopism”, idiocy and complete disregard for competence and experience. If the commissioner can say that rank, qualification and number of years does not matter in deciding the salary levels of employees then God Save Ghana.
By his assertion a “Kaya Girl” should be employed to do the work he is doing, I am not surprised he is failing and failing fast. It is in the interest of Ghana to ensure fairness. The other option is that we MAKE THE DIFFERENCE AT THE ENTRY POINTS especially knowing that our motivated policemen and women are capable to contain the situation within.
Find attached the SSSS schedules for all the security institutions and pass judgment if it is fair or not
Thank you and May God save us all