The Ministry of Trade and Industry has clarified that there is no rift or tension between Ghanaian nationals and their foreign counterparts at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
It has therefore described a report that alleges that there is a rift between Ghanaian officials and foreign nationals working at the Secretariat as “false, misleading, disingenuous and designed to cause disaffection between the two groups of officials”.
According to GhanaNewsPage.com, an online portal, the Secretary General of AfCFTA has threatened to sack all Ghanaian employees at the Secretariat due to a refit between them and their foreign counterparts.
A statement signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Patrick Y. Nimo, denied the report, saying it intended to jeopardise the cordial relations between the government and the leadership of the AfCFTA Secretariat.
“The claims made in the said report that the Secretary General is attempting to sideline Ghanaian nationals is false,” it said.
“Since August 2020, when the Secretariat was formally commissioned, the Government of Ghana in consultation with H.E. 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 is activated,” it added.
Harmonious working relations
Portions of the press release disclosed that since the deployment of the OST, there has been 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 are engaged. 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, has a specific quota for nationals that entitles them to apply for positions and work in the AfCFTA Secretariat.
In this regard, when the AU recruitment 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 statement said that the Ministries of Trade and Foreign Affairs will continue to work closely with the AfCFTA Secretariat “to ensure Ghana harnesses the full range of benefits from the AfCFTA as host country.”