UE/R: Jubilation As Otiko Announces Pay Day, More Jobs
Hundreds of young people looking too disappointed before they met Wednesday in the Upper East region with the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, came out of the meeting too happy to tell curious bystanders the news they just heard.
They were engaged as enumerators under the Ministry’s Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR) to help gather some information targeted at helping extremely poor people in the future.
That exercise had started with some unquenchable agitations over an alleged scheme by some bosses to pay the enumerators less than they deserved. It had taken the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, who also fell on Otiko Djaba for reinforcement, to quench the ‘flames’ of that protest with a verbal assurance that their grievances would be thoroughly dealt with.
The complaints were addressed as promised. But the remuneration for the enumeration was not fully paid. The enumerators appeared moody when stakeholders assembled Wednesday in Bolgatanga, the regional capital, for Otiko Djaba to officially close the GNHR enumeration exercise.
As the minister spoke, that mood gradually gave way to cheers as the moon does when the sun arrives at daybreak. She made two promises that animated the entire conference hall of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) where the closing ceremony took place.
“Anyone who has not been paid, please, you’ll be paid tomorrow. It will drop tomorrow,” she assured in a statement she did not complete before the once-angry enumerators started clapping. “You need to listen. Some of you have problems. You need to go today to the bank [to] get your e-zwich accounts corrected and sent to Accra today,” she stressed as applause accompanied every word.
Government to Reward ‘diligent’ Enumerators
The ‘good news’ did not end there. The minister made another disclosure that gave everyone a reason to believe the popular saying that “the reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more”.
“We will award those who have worked all the 38 days and give you a small token of our appreciation. What you have learnt here and what you have achieved here [will change] your individual lives and the lives of extremely poor people in the Upper East. Ghana will forever be grateful to you. The Upper East will forever be grateful to you.
“And as we move along, those of you who are interested can apply when we are in other areas. The National Identification Authority will also be looking for people. And when we renew the contract with the World Bank, we’ll be looking for some of you to come and be permanent staff. It has not been a lost cause. You would use this on your CV (curriculum vitae) to catapult you to another level in your life,” said Madam Djaba.
But as the moon is at times still seen around after the sun has risen, a bit of bitterness still lingered among the enumerators as the minister made it clear at the ceremony that the equipment supplied for the exercise would be demanded back as they took the last part of their pay Thursday (today).
“They gave us tablets and scanners. My tablet for instance does not store data fast. It’s a bit slow and its memory is low. We complained about that challenge as well. I’m ready to give mine back tomorrow and take the rest of my pay. Those who were grumbling when she (the minister) said they would take everything back are those who got good tablets,” said an enumerator who declined to mention his name for personal reasons.
“See me, see my MDCEs if you have problems”— Regional Minister tells Enumerators
According to Madam Otiko Djaba, 808 enumerators were engaged in the region with 135 supervisors and 22 district coordinators divided into four zones.
1,708 communities have been captured so far with 118 villages yet to be reached. It is expected that the yet-to-be-done areas will be covered during the impending mop-up operation and validation exercise.
Addressing the gathering, the Upper East Regional Minister encouraged the enumerators to call on his Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs) and himself whenever the need arose to render their support for the success of the exercise and similar assignments in the future.
“I hope during the mop-up, you’ll be able to complete all your communities. Those of you who have got challenges, we are there for you. Let us see how we can meet to solve those problems for you. When the National Identification Programme is launched in the Upper East region, some of you will be called upon to [undertake that task].
“My MDCEs will all be involved. If you have any challenges, go to my MDCEs; they will solve it for you. I am also there to solve it for you. I can’t deceive you. I don’t want to see my children and bend down my head. So, I’m assuring you, things (money) will drop,” Mr. Bukari stated, entertaining the crowd as he brought his hand down stepwise to demonstrate how the promised money would drop and he verbalised the sound of the envisaged drop repeatedly, “kpa,kpa,kpa,kpa,kpa!”