GCNet, WestBlue seek US$300m payout

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Photo: Registrar-General, Jemima Oware.

The Ghana Community Network Limited (GCNet) and West Blue Consulting are pushing government for a total payout of US$300million due to the abrogation of their port management contracts.

The settlement package for GCNet, reported to be an about US$150million, has remained unpaid after abrogation of the contract – and this has not only strained the company financially, but has also compelled its workers to embark on a strike action.

The GCNet staff strike, which started on October 9, has adversely affected other state agencies such as the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) – which was affected due to its existing partnership with GCNet for the management of its digital and paperless ‘E-Registrar’ platform.

The Registrar-General, Jemima Mamaa Oware, revealed that government suffered an estimated daily financial loss of GH¢500,000 for the period when strike action was in force.

“It is a sad day for the RGD and all our offices, since we are not working and have not been able to make payments for any of our services because our services are linked up to this electronic system. We are not able to process transactions and we were registering as many as 200 companies a day; but now, since last week Friday, we have absolutely nothing to do,” Mrs. Oware noted.

The US$150million covers the unexpired period of GCNet’s contract and includes cost of the company’s installed technological systems across the country, physical infrastructure among several other investments.

It is from this amount that GCNet will pay its severance and redundancy packages to its workers, numbering about 100 – who were laid-off because of government abrogating the ports management contract – and currently at the company’s throat, accusing it of human rights violations.

Though the Ministry of Finance and other relevant stakeholder bodies intervened and convinced the striking GCNet employees to resume work and the E-Registrar became operational once again, there is growing anxiety that the unpaid settlement could spark another wave of agitation and disruption with the potential to again cause revenue losses.

Meanwhile, it is uncertain what options WestBlue will employ in chasing its unpaid monies from government, especially with diplomatic and corporate approaches falling on deaf ears.

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