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Business News of Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Baker Hughes, Fidelity Bank, GTP to lay off 460 workers

Despite the alarming unemployment rate in the country, companies continue to lay-off workers in large numbers, a reflection of how businesses are struggling to survive in a challenging economic environment.

About 460 workers are being retrenched by three difference organisations in the last quarter of 2016.

Investigations by The Finder newspaper indicate that, Baker Hughes Ghana Limited, a top-tier oilfield service company, is laying off 130 workers, Ghana Textile Printing (GTP) is retrenching 130 staff, while Fidelity Bank has also retrenched some 200 workers.

Experts say restructuring in the banking sector is mainly being occasioned by Non-Performing Loans which, a recent Bank of Ghana (BoG) report, pegged at GH?6.1 billion. Loans that banks fear might go bad have been on the increase since last year with some even worried that it could have resulted in the collapse of some banks.

The report revealed that the NPLs actually went up by almost 70 percent from GH?3.6 billion in 2015. Debts of Bulk Oil Distributors are to be a major part of the debts of banks.

Baker Hughes, Ghana Limited, an American oil company operating in the country has retrenched 130 staff. According to information, the workers are being laid off because the company could not secure contracts to execute making the staff redundant.

Information available to The Finder indicates that the workers have raised concerns about the severance package and the issues are being addressed by the National Labour Commission (NLC).

Baker Hughes is a top-tier oilfield service company that provides the oil and gas industry with products and services for oil drilling, formation evaluation, completion, production and reservoir consulting. The company arrived in Ghana in 2008.

Mr Abraham Koomson, Secretary General of Ghana Federation of Labour told The Finder that Ghana Textile Printing (GTP) has served retrenchment letters to 130 staff. According to him, the redundancy packages have been agreed.

He blamed the situation on pirating of designs of Ghanaian textile firms which are sent to China to produced cheap textiles imported into Ghana.

He predicted more redundancies by textile companies in the months ahead as he accused personnel of Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) of being complicit in the flooding of the country with pirated textiles.

Mr Koomson was worried that while a task force continued to seize pirated textiles daily in shops, more of the pirated textiles invaded the market.

Fidelity Bank Ghana has also retrenched at least 200 of its staff as part of ongoing staff rationalisation and restructuring within the bank.

In July this year, GCB Bank undertook a staff rationalisation exercise involving about 200 employees. The exercise formed part of the bank’s Transformation Programme designed to re-position the bank as one of the top performing banks in Ghana.

Prairie Volta Limited, also known as Aveyime Rice Project, is dead and in September, this year, over 500 workers were sent home without pay.

Standard Chartered Bank Ghana and Universal Merchant Banks also laid-off staff earlier in the year. A recent World Bank report revealed that 48 percent of Ghanaian youth are unemployed.