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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Loan companies “raping” workers

     (Dzokoto/Mensah) GNA- Mr Elvis S. Van-Lare, Volta Regional Secretary of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has observed that poor salaries in certain categories of the public services was increasingly exposing their workers to the “rape” of loans companies.
     He said these workers who could hardly make ends meet were being “lured” into contracting loans with these companies at outrageous interest rates.
     Mr Van-Lare was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday on the current phenomenon of loads of loan offer flyers and notices circulating or plastered on walls, trees and planks in every town in the country.
     He said the only way out of this “quagmire” was the active popularization of workers cooperative credit unions, whose membership should be mandatory for all workers and contributions deducted at source.
     Mr Van-Lare called on institutions to support the GTUC to raise awareness of workers on the importance of credit unions.
     Mr Van-Lare expressed regret at the increasing inability of Human Resource Departments of public sector institutions to impact on the welfare of their employees through crafted interventions or policies.
     He said many work places were unable to meet the periodic cash needs of their employees for school fees, advances for accommodation, bereavements and sickness, leaving them with no choice other than resort to loan sharks parading as loans companies.
     On the Single Spine Pay Policy, Mr Van-Lare said that policy’s objective of   equity and pay commensurate with effort had “by and large” failed to “click”.
     He said the scheme might have been distorted making the Ghanaian worker still, one the lowest paid in the sub-region and Africa.
    Mr Van-Lare dismissed the notion that the policy was too costly to finance, warning that the public services would continue to lose their valuable staff to the private sector.
     Itinerant agents of the Loan Companies told the GNA that majority of their clients in the Volta Region were teachers, civil servants and staff of the sub-vented organizations.
    A public servant told the GNA that he was grappling with having to pay over 4,000 cedis for a loan of 1,900.00 cedis contracted from one of the loans companies to settle his son’s University admission fees and related expenses.
    He said every month an amount of 189.00 cedis was being deducted to redeem the loan leaving him with an almost empty pocket.
     This public servant observed the the speed with which the loans companies advance loans to meet emergencies was a major attraction unlike the banks whose process were frustrating.

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