The Association of Ghana Industries is warning of massive layoffs as the power crisis worsens in the country.
Power has been rationed in the country for over two and half years and is expected to get worse with the current turn of events.
In the middle of the crisis, power producers claimed to be making concessions for industries to survive, but now the industries say they will have to send some workers home, as the power crisis is keeping them pressed.
Speaking on News Desk on JoyNews MultiTV, the president of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Seth Adjei Baah, said the industries are not generating enough and “we are expanding to rural areas. Due to that demand and supply do not match and it is affecting the industries”, he emphasised.
He said, production has decreased due to the frequent power cuts, and the industries have nothing to supply to their customers as such it is just in the right step to lay off people.
“If you are not able to get electricity to run, production goes down. And without the production, you have nothing to sell, even to pay for your bills, your raw material and even your workers. And even if your workers are stationed without working, at the end of the month you cannot say they did not work so you are not going to pay them,” he explained.
The layoff according to him is worse than they anticipated it to be. “If you are not breaking even, the best thing is to lay-off because you want to cut down cost and we have started laying off people.”
“It is not easy to look at somebody you have worked with over the years and say to him, go home because I cannot afford to keep you”.
Mr. Baah noted that the power cuts have become so worse that they receive four hours of electrical power a day, which he said, is not enough to enable them break even with production.
Fuelling generator sets and other expenses for production is expensive and cannot meet the market pricing.
He revealed that forty-eight percent of workers within his establishment have been laid off and more is expected to follow.
“I think more will go because we cannot continue to pick up a lot of bills when we are not making money.”
He debunked information that priority of power supply were given to industries, indicating that no formal notice have been given them to that effect.
He said, he does not see that to be feasible since industries are not located at one place.
“I don’t know how they are going to do that because in this country, the industries are scattered. We don’t have organized industrial areas like they have in other countries (areas). So how do you just identify the industries within the country and give power to them?.”
The layoffs, according Mr Adeji Baah, have no specific time frame since they also do not know when the power crisis will end.
“Business people are in for profit so long as we cannot break even because of power shortages, we keep on cutting down cost until we are sure that we will keep our heads above waters,” he added.
Touching on the issue, the Deputy Trade and Industry Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed said government understands the plight of the industry and is doing everything to bring the situation under control.
He said the issue of the industries not located at one place is a major hindrance to giving special attention to them.