The Local Government Service drivers in the Brong-Ahafo Region have appealed to their ‘bosses’ to refrain from the driving of official vehicles for official duties.
They said the Assembly officials must allow them to drive the government vehicles that signified the basis of their employment, for them to derive the necessary job satisfaction.
The drivers also made a passionate appeal to the appropriate authorities for their extra duties (travelling and overtime) allowances to be worked out and paid to them regularly and accordingly to enhance their livelihoods.
They spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a professional defensive driver training and orientation workshop for over 200 drivers from the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), the 27 Assemblies – eight Municipalities and the 19 Districts in the Region on Saturday in Sunyani.
The first of its kind in the Region, if not the country, the two-day programme was organised and funded by the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) at the instance of the Messrs Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Regional Minister, Evans Opoku Bobie, the Deputy Regional Minister and Kwame Oppong, the Chief Director of the RCC.
It was designed to expose the drivers to new trends in driving and road traffic regulations and also to give them the opportunity to socialise and build networks to boost their professional knowledge and competencies.
The drivers who spoke to the Ghana News Agency on condition of anonymity expressed worry about the lack of professional best practices among their ‘bosses’ by making them (drivers) idle at times within the local government system.
They alleged that sometimes instead of being driven by a driver in the official vehicle to an official programme, an officer would attend, either locally or outside in his/her private vehicle and claim double allowance for himself/herself and that of a
In addition, they complained that some of the officers took delight in driving the official government vehicle for all kinds of purposes, but when “they encounter problems, then, they turn to us to come in to save them”.
The drivers described the situation as “unfortunate and unacceptable” and therefore pleaded with the sector Ministry and the RCC to put measures in place to address it for improved general performance of the local government service staff.
Giving their impressions at the end of the workshop, a number of them described the programme as “very good and timely” as it would help them to drive better to promote road safety.
They however demanded respect from the officers they worked with, saying sometimes we need to stop for a while to rest before the continuation of a journey when driving long distances, but that did not usually happen.
The need for that and the resultant road safety advantage was the prevention of road crashes because of driver fatigue, the drivers added.
Most of the participants the GNA interviewed commended the Regional Minister, his Deputy and the Chief Director for their foresight and initiative, saying the workshop was “marvellous and unprecedented” that should not be held for them alone but the general driving public.
Earlier in an opening address, Mr. Fritz Mensah, an Assistant Director at the RCC on behalf of Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh, stated that drivers played vital roles in the delivery of local government service but hardly were they given refresher training despite their numbers of years of employment.
Hence, he added, the workshop was necessary to update and broaden their knowledge in the driving profession for them to be abreast with modern trends and demands of road traffic regulations to contribute to achieving zero road crashes.
Resource persons were drawn from the regional offices of the National Road Safety Commission, Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority, Motor Traffic and Transport Department, Ghana National Fire Service and the Ghana Red Cross Society.