A former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Adei, has said eight out of every 10 Ghanaians are hard-working and, if properly motivated, can work for the progress of the nation.
His comment comes on the back of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s advice to Ghanaian public sector workers to turn from their negative attitudes towards work during his maiden May Day celebrations address.
“I have said it at another forum, but I think it bears repeating: we arrive at work late and then spend the first hour in prayer; we are clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work, because it is the official closing time. Everything comes to a stop when it rains and we seem to expect the rest of the world also to stop,” the President said.
He continued: “We have no respect for the hours set aside for work… we pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone when customers are waiting to be served, thereby increasing our labour costs. We take a week off for every funeral. And then we wonder why we are not competitive.”
But reacting to this on Accra News on Tuesday 2 May, Prof Adei said: “Truthfully, eight out of 10 Ghanaians are hard-working and contribute to their personal economies and that of their employers, but when you compare how hard Ghanaians work abroad and how hard they work here, you can say we are working against our own interest.”
He explained that when public sector work was introduced by the British, some Ghanaians had the notion that working for the state meant working for the colonial master. So people wanted to do little but expected huge salaries at the end of the month.
“Secondly, when we got independence, the political leaders, beside Nkrumah, didn’t set good examples for us. When people saw politicians with no job experience becoming rich overnight, it dispirited them,” he noted.
According to Prof Adei, many factors, including “the quality of management”, affect attitude to work. He, therefore, suggested managers and supervisors especially in the public sector enforce conditions of service for every employee to curb such negative attitudes towards work. He further recommended that government desist from shielding persons who are affiliated to it politically but punish anybody with a negative attitude towards work to serve as deterrent to others.