Participants in a workshop on the implementation of the government’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (CPESDP) in Accra on Friday were chastised for reporting late to the programme.
The Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Naa Tsotso Sackey, who did not take kindly to the attitude of the participants, directed them to recite the national pledge for reporting late.
The event was scheduled to start at 8.30 a.m. at the GNAT Hall, but many of the participants, including metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), presiding members and some technocrats from the 26 district assemblies in the Greater Accra Region reported late.
As of about 9.30 a.m., only 51 of the 200 participants had reported for the workshop.
At about 10 a.m. when the workshop was called to order, a greater number of the invitees were still not present.
Dissatisfied with the situation, the minister asked for a roll call of the officials representing all the 26 metropolitan, municipal district assemblies (MMDAs) to be able to identify those who had still not arrived.
When she eventually got the opportunity to address the participants, the minister chastised them for their poor attitude to time, warning that the time had come for the whip to be cracked on habitual lateness to work.
"I got here around 8 a.m., but when I checked the registration desk after almost two hours of sitting here, only 51 of you were here. We cannot build a country beyond aid with this kind of attitude. You want to be paid good salaries but you don't want to report to work on time. This attitude will no longer be countenanced," the seemingly worried deputy minister said.
After speaking strongly against the negative attitude towards time, she ordered all the participants to rise and recite the National Pledge, and promise to be "good boys and girls."
“Anytime you hear the National Pledge being recited, what comes to your mind? It requires you to be faithful and loyal to the country’s development process. You are the planners and implementers of policies at the local level and need to be time conscious,” she stressed.
Speaking later to the Daily Graphic in an interview, Mrs Sackey said the Greater Accra Regional Coordination Council (GARCC) had issued an earlier directive to all MMDAs to use the clock-in system to ensure punctuality to work.
She added that punitive measures would be taken against workers at MMDAs who failed the punctuality test.
For his part, the Chief Director of the GARCC, Mr Ernest Nyagbe, said officials of the MMDAs who failed to participate in the workshop would be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others.
“I will take the list of attendees at this workshop and write officially to those who failed to turn up for the workshop without any reason,” he said.
The spectacle at the GNAT Hall, the venue of the workshop, came at a time when there were growing concerns about the extent to which people, especially, those who occupied public offices paid lip service to time.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo directed state institutions and Ghanaians as a whole to turn over a new leaf in their attitude towards time when he delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2017.
In that address, he stated that there was no more room for lateness and “African Time” mantra in the country.
However, many state institutions, including ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), have failed to live up to the demand by the President.