Social media report of tension at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat is untrue, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has said.
A statement signed by Mr. Patrick Y. Nimo, Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the attention of the Ministry had been drawn to a social media report carried on an online portal on March 14th, 2021 titled “Secretary-General of AfCFTA threatens to sack all Ghanaian employees”.
It said the report alleges a rift between Ghana officials and foreign nationals working at the (AfCFTA) Secretariat in Accra.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry wishes on behalf of the Government of Ghana to state emphatically and unequivocally that there is no such rift or tension between the Ghanaian nationals and their foreign counterparts at the Secretariat,” it said.
“The report is not only false and misleading but disingenuous and is designed to cause disaffection between the two groups of officials working at the Secretariat and it is also intended to jeopardize the cordial relations between the Government of Ghana and the leadership of the AfCFTA Secretariat.”
The statement said since August 2020, when the Secretariat was formally commissioned, the Government of Ghana in consultation with Mr. Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, deployed a team of experienced Ghanaian professionals and experts for a transition period as an Operational Support Team (OST) to assist the Secretary-General to commence operational activities, whiles the formal process of recruitment was activated.
It said the OST, since its deployment, had had a harmonious working relationship with the Secretary-General and his initial team made up of foreign nationals.
“It is to be understood that the OST from the onset has been intended to be a short-term transitional arrangement until permanent staff for the Secretariat is engaged,” it said.
“It is, therefore, erroneous to create the impression, as the report suggests, that the Secretary-General is averse to working with Ghanaian nationals.”
It said Ghana as a member of the African Union (AU), like any other member state, had a specific quota for nationals to apply for positions and work in the AfCFTA Secretariat.
It said in this regard when the AU recruit process for permanent staff for the Secretariat commences, interested citizens may apply on a competitive basis to be considered for recruitment to the AfCFTA Secretariat.
“The claims made by the said report that the Secretary-General is attempting to sideline Ghanaian nationals are false,” it said.
The statement said the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration would continue to work closely with the AfCFTA Secretariat to ensure Ghana harnesses the full range of benefits from the AfCFTA as a host country.