Is scrapping of workers’ ESB best option for a state enterprise?

End-of-Service Benefit (ESB) is usu­ally, a cash benefit that is paid to workers by their employers upon their compulsory retirement or when their services are abruptly terminat­ed by their hiring institutions. This is calculated on the basis of last wage which the worker was entitled to namely the basic salary. Hence, it will not include allowances such as housing, conveyance, utilities, fur­niture among others. Also, a worker who has spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an ESB gratuity upon the termina­tion of his service.


The Labour Law makes it clear that if the term of service is less than one year, there is no eligibility for gratuity compensation. However, for service of more than one year, but less than five years, the entire gratuity compensation would be equivalent to 21 days of salary each year of service. For instance, if you have worked for a company for four years, your ESB gratuity would equal 21 days’ wage multiplied by four. Employees who have worked for more than five years, will get ESB gratu­ity of 30 days salary for each year worked beyond the five- year service.

The payment of ESB to workers which was restored by the National Tripartite Committee (NTC), repre­senting the government, organised labour and employers in 2002, to supplement the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pension Scheme after it was frozen in 1990, was aimed at providing an enhanced financial security for the worker in retirement as a means of promoting equity, higher productivity and loyalty within the establishment or an organisation.


This means that the ESB in its entirety is so relevant and beneficial to workers as they start their new lives during retirement from active service. It is, therefore, a scheme which needs protection and suste­nance because life after retirement is very difficult and hectic. It is during retirement after 60 years of active service that you will realise that you need some form of financial support to tackle health issues, particular­ly medications and other medical issues and the only means of support especially when you do not have any dependant to supplement your meagre pension allowance, would be your ESB.

The framers of the Labour Laws were conscious of that shortcoming and the burden it would pose to pensioners, hence the fixation of the ESB into the law to cater for some of these problems and, therefore, need to be commended for their foresight. Any attempt by any state-owned establishment to on its own volition suspend or cancel the ESB, means it is insensitive to the plight of its work­ers and, therefore, acting callously and wickedly.


What state-owned enterprises should do to sustain the scheme, is to ensure that funds accru­ing should be managed separately and indepen­dent of their enterprises. They should make sure that employees should as much as practicable have access to the benefits only when leaving the service of their employ­er. They must encourage parties at the enterprise level to explore the pos­sibilities of modifying the operations of existing supplementary schemes to emphasise their termi­nal character.

It is important to state that the termina­tion of the ESB scheme in 1990, attracted mixed feelings and agitations from workers especially those that were deemed disqualified by their enterprises and, therefore, received no benefits at all from their employers. It was on that premise that workers welcomed the announcement by government to restore the scheme in 2002.


When the Managing Director of the New Times Corporation (NTC), Mr. Martin Adu-Owusu, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament recently, he painted a gloomy picture of the corporation, especially the lack of inflow of the needed funds to sustain and keep the operations of the NTC active.

The Auditor General in its 2020 report on Public Boards and Corpo­rations noted that debtors of the state-owned media organisation have become numbed in redeeming their indebtedness to the NTC. Customers’ balances recorded by head office showed GHc196, 603.73 and GHc185, 935.76 in respect of stopped sub­scriptions and vendors as against GHc151, 932.93 and GHc 124,807.19.

The managing director told the committee that, though some of the debtors had started responding fol­lowing a February 1, 2023, deadline, the NTC would be exploring legal ac­tion against recalcitrant ones. Hear the MD in part: “We have made sev­eral efforts including the Minister of Information writing to our debtors to do the needful. What we have done since last year, was to serve notices in our newspapers so that those who owe us will come and pay. The dead­line was February 1, 2023. I have started receiving letters from the debtors coming to arrange for payments. From this stage, we will move a step fur­ther by taking legal action against the debtors because we have done all that we could but the situation is not improving”.


Indeed, one remarkable feature that needs com­mendation was the call by Sam Nartey George, Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram to individuals and organisations that are indebted to the NTC to redeem their indebtedness to enable the corporation to function effectively. He said the locked- up funds with the debtors go into run­ning of the publisher and that their failure could run the corporation aground.


Definitely, the New Times Corpora­tion is confronted with huge financial problem to keep the corporation running. However, that should not give room for the managing director to announce an intention of either suspending or cancelling the work­ers ESB in the near future because the corporation is not in a healthy financial position to continue with the scheme. That to this writer who happened to be a former Editor of the Ghanaian Times newspaper and other well-meaning Ghanaians, will not be the best path to follow. Has the MD weighed the magnitude of his statement? He must realise that such a statement will automatical­ly lower the morale of the workers and eventually affect productivity, knowing very well that they are not entitled to ESB when they retire from the corporation.


It is sad that governments upon governments both in the past and present have always relied or de­pended on the New Times Corpo­ration newspapers, especially The Ghanaian Times to prosecute their political agenda and other selfish interests yet they have failed to see to it that the corporation stood on its feet in terms of financial recapital­isation. Politicians see the NTC as a dumping ground for all kind of propa­gandist and other campaign materials and that to me in particular, had branded the corporation’s products as government newspapers and, there­fore, people continue to feel reluc­tant to patronise them. Otherwise, how can a big corporation like the NTC print their newspapers at Graph­ic Corporation and Daily Guide for barely two years now without govern­ment’s intervention? Is it an intention to kill the fortunes of the corporation and turn around to acquire the NTC for selfish reason?

Indeed, the New Times Corpora­tion, which is a state-owned media, arguably, has the Graphic Corporation as its major competitor in the news­paper industry. Today, Graphic is making it just because it has contin­ued to set its priorities right by doing what it takes to rake in the needed revenue to support its operations and keep the corporation going. I sincerely believe that, Times can do same by identifying its problems and other shortcomings which include, chasing of its debtors by resorting to the law courts to recover the huge debt owed to the corporation by its creditors as well as repositioning and rebranding its products to attract readers and other patrons.


THE Information Minister, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, recently promised that his ministry was doing everything possible to help the New Times Cor­poration to come out from its present predicament and to make the place viable. It is the hope of many espe­cially, workers and management of the NTC that this assurance will not be in futility.

Indeed, it was time the govern­ment and other well-meaning Ghana­ians went to the aid of the NTC and help them out of their present chal­lenges. The corporation has nurtured good talents in the past and still has a crop of journalists and other staff who should be supported to expand their horizon.

Contact email/WhatsApp of au­thor:

HYPERLINK “mailto:ataani2000@”


By Charles Neequaye

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