|$600,000 a month in NIDCO rent |
NALINEE SEELAL Wednesday, March 15 2017
WORKS and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says that in the current economic climate, there is a need to “cut the fat” at the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (NIDCO) and there will be job losses among contract workers.
To this end, a firm has been hired by Government to do an assessment of employees so a decision can be made on exactly how much staff is needed.
Sinanan, a Government Senator, said when he was appointed Works and Transport Minister, he was told staff at NIDCO amounted to almost 200. Rental of office space amounted to $600,000 a month, he revealed. Staff occupies six floors in a building and after reviewing its operations, a decision was made to source another building in San Juan at a rental cost of $200,000 per month.
Sinanan said rental of vehicles cost such an exorbitant amount that he immediately put a stop to this and most of the rental vehicles under NIDCO’s use were sent back to the leasing company while seven drivers were sent home late last year. According to Minister Sinanan, monies being brought in by NIDCO cannot cover the cost of keeping this entity afloat to pay staff and run internal affairs.
He said there are some “very well paid employees” and a manpower audit needs to be done so that, “the fat can be cut” as part of an urgently needed restructuring drive. He noted that due to the state of the economy, NIDCO does not need a staff complement of almost 200 and accordingly, jobs will be cut starting with contract workers.
The Minister said that when he assumed office, he discovered that persons were hired in NIDCO by their family and friends and there was no proper hiring practice in place. Some persons who were not even qualified for jobs in NIDCO, are on the payroll. “This will now cease under my watch and those persons who are qualified and are needed will be retained,” he vowed.
Sinanan said there are other entities within his Ministry where there is over and under staffing which will be dealt with in the coming months.
Several NIDCO contract workers described moves by the Minister to send them home as cruel adding that Sinanan ought to be more sympathetic as jobs are difficult to find at this time.
According to them, the possibility of unemployment is causing many sleepless nights and recalled Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, early in his government’s tenure, assuring that despite the recession there would be no job losses in the Public Service.