Lamenting about Ghanaians’ ‘unsatisfactory’ attitude towards work would not cause the needed attitudinal change, if the president and his appointees do not set example. That is the position of Dr. Ahmed Jinapor, Head of Department, Early Childhood Education at the University of Education Winneba. Going to work late and attending functions late by government officials will definitely portray the status quo as normal without requiring any urgent change, he observed.
In his May Day address, President Akufo-Addo analysed, “We have no respect for the hours set aside for work; we pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone when customers are waiting to be served thereby increasing our labour cost. We take a week off for every funeral and then we wonder why we are not competitive.” Weighing into the issue on TV3’s Saturday’s edition of New Day aired live on 3FM 92.7, Dr. Ahmed Jinapor stated: “This whole thing boils down to leadership. If you are the president of this Republic and you are supposed to go for a meeting, and you are late for two hours, and continuously that is how it is, will I come to work early as a subordinate, no. “If you are a president, you go to work, but you don’t work, will the chief of staff, ministers and deputy ministers work, no?” If the president is able to demonstrate that he is working, he should be able to crack the whip on lazy workers, he asserted.
Dr. Jinapor also maintained that the poor working attitude especially within the public sector is a generational one which would take time to reverse. “Because if the Director General of the Ghana Education Service is working, definitely the regional director will work; the head teacher will work and the class teacher will work. “And based on that, the child who comes to class seeing the madam coming to class early, on time, will definitely inculcate that kind of behaviour. It is a serious thing that I think the president just talking about it is not enough, he needs to lead by example.” But a Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, OB Amoah quickly chipped in that the president has been “leading by example”. He mentioned how those around him “marvel” at how he is able to work for long hours considering his age. For Kobby Acheampong, a former Deputy Interior Minister, what is missing is the supervisory role: where supervisors are able to reprimand and query subordinates when necessary to get them working.
He also suggested that constant retraining of workers is key in shaping their attitude and propping them to work hard. Dr. Jemimah Nunoo, lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), reiterated that Ghanaians attitude to work is an attitude many acquired over a period of time. She stated for instance, a student who cheats at the university might have started cheating whilst in the basic school. She also noted that the situation where chiefs and opinion leaders intervene when people are sanctioned for misbehaving has not helped in shaping people’s attitude.