It’s a tale of uncertainty among staff of Ghana’s biggest indigenous cocoa-buying company, PBC Limited, as the company continues to post huge revenue losses.
According to its audited reports cited for 2020, the company lost 1.9 billion cedis within a period of four years. In JoyNews’ latest hotline documentary PBC Troubles, Joy News investigative desk explores what might be accounting for the steep decline in PBC’s market share from 30.88 percent in 2016 to 8 percent in 2021.
In August 2022, a circular copied to all staff of PBC indicated that payment of salaries will delay due to the current financial challenges facing the company.
JoyNews in an interaction with a staff who pleaded anonymity in November 2022, said their salaries were delayed for three months last year.
It was not only difficult for many to fend for themselves but for their families as well.
“The staff salary, They were owing us three months, but currently, they’ve paid the three months but as we speak, we don’t know when our next salary payment is coming. And we have no idea,” he told JoyNews.
According to him, it is now difficult for staff to access welfare loans from the company, which wasn’t the norm in the recent past.
He also stated that the refusal to release the staff’s tier three funds has agitated the workers.
“The welfare fund is a revolving fund. So they wrote to us that there are no funds available, so nobody should apply for welfare loans. But with regards to the tier three, it is our money and we have contributed and it is 10 years now. And the agreement was that when it is 10 years, they have to pay all the monies to us, but it is 10 years now and they are refusing to release the funds to us.”
The financial situation at PBC was dire to the extent that the company suspended the intake of national service personnel for the 2022/23 year.
In a circular sighted by JoyNews, the Human Resource Manager, William Ayisi cited the current financial challenges of the company as the reason.
In January 2022, PBC Limited wrote to the Minister of Employment about its intention to restructure the company including downsizing its staff.
It cited the prevailing financial and operational downturn, making it difficult to pay staff and meet its obligations to stakeholders.
The release said that the staff who will be affected by the downsizing are those without establishment.
JoyNews suggest that when COCOBOD secured the cocoa syndicated loan last year, it loaned PBC an estimated GH₵350 million. However, management used GH₵50 million to cover staff remuneration and other administrative expenses.
The national projection PBC set for itself for 2020 to 2023 main crop season was to purchase 170,000 tonnes of cocoa, but with the limited funds in the PBCs account, this target remains a pipe dream and leaves staff in another boat of uncertainty on what fate hangs on the survival of PBC and possible payment of the remuneration.
Meanwhile, PBC troubles will be airing on Monday, 17th April on the Super Morning Show at 8. 30 am and on the Joy News channel at 8.30pm
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