Saturday, October 14, 2017

You're Fired!

In the 80s, I used to work in Canary Wharf, East London. I don’t know how many people the company employed, but sizeable seeing that we occupied three floors.

One evening as we left at the close of day and headed to the pub, one of the boardrooms was being rearranged – not that it concerned us that much because it was something that happened on a regular basis.

Shortly after 11:00am the following morning, an army of men and women in suits and suits skirts trooped in carrying everything from laptops, flip charts, cardboard boxes and set up camp in the rearranged boardroom.

It didn’t take that long after their arrival for whispers to resound through the three floors that the men and women in black trouser suits and skirts were auditors – from Arthur Andersen if memory serves me correct, and had been tasked with helping the company to ‘downsize’ – a term that then, was ‘Greek’ to me.

The Words Every Employee Dreads To Hear
For the record, in a business enterprise, downsizing is “reducing the number of employees on the operating payroll. Some users distinguish downsizing from a layoff, with downsizing intended to be a permanent downscaling and a layoff intended to be a temporary downscaling in which employees may later be rehired”.

Over the course of three months there were tears if you got back from lunch to find a pristine white envelope on your desk with a letter that read something along the lines of: “...with regret you are surplus requirement to the direction the firm is taking...” and “...wishing you the best in future endeavours...”

I survived, but not for long for two weeks after the suits had packed up and gone, the boardroom rearranged to the way it used to be, there was a global financial meltdown. The markets collapsed and in a matter of hours, thousands were without jobs and err, including me.

What Next After Getting The Axe?
Closer to home, Auditor needs to take a trip State House. A few weeks ago, I called State House asking to speak to Human Resource. “Reason of your enquiry” Voice asked. I was tempted to tell Voice that it’s of no concern to her but thought otherwise and politely responded that I needed to find out the structure of the payroll and how many people State House employs. A click later, and I guess for 'obvious reasons', the line went dead.

State House employs 32 cabinet ministers and 51 state ministers. In addition, M7 has 20 men and women with job titles of – Senior Presidential Advisor, Assistant Presidential Advisor, Presidential Advisor, Special Presidential Envoy, Special Presidential Assistant, and Deputy Special Presidential Assistant who earn a monthly stipend of between sh15m at the high end for Henry Kajura and sh2.3 at the low end for Tamale Mirundi. For foreign travel, they earn a daily per diem allowance of $460 - $580.  

Advisors Are Raking In A Dime
What bothers, is what on earth do all these people do? To the best of my knowledge and as William Naggaga wrote in Daily Monitor sometime back: “To advise M7 you must meet him, or receive a request for advice. Many have not met M7 nor has their advice been sought, but they still get paid and it would not be polite or prudent to reject either the appointment or the salary that comes with it.” Yesss!!

For example in the job description, what is the difference between Special Presidential Envoy and Special Presidential Assistant except in the titles? Or does the Special Presidential Assistant assist the Special Presidential Envoy?

Whatever the case, downsizing is urgently required at State House but with a proviso – with the money and per diem that Advisor earns, if am offered Special Presidential Envoy status, then there be no need to go rocking the gravy boat - is there? 

Pictures: New Vision, Agencies

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