GWI staff increased by 700 under APNU/AFC – CEO

…payroll moved from $96M to $240M
…entity overstaffed, productivity ratio shows negative figures

An increase of 700 employees within five years at the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has resulted in overstaffing, to which the management has now taken a move to terminate over 100 persons.
Chief Executive Officer of GWI, Shaik Baksh confirmed this at a press conference, noting that an analysis of the utility company found that along with overstaffing, the expenditure to facilitate the high employment rate was not sustainable. In fact, the costs had moved up from $96 million to $240 million – an increase of 140 per cent.
“This rationalisation process started about eight months ago in which an in-depth study of the origination was undertaken in light of the huge employment numbers, especially the employment cost at GWI. When we compared 2015 to August 2020, we found that the employment numbers moved from just over 600 to over 1300 in 2020,” Baksh noted.

GWI CEO Shaik Baksh

To compound the issue, the CEO highlighted that the productivity ratio has seen negative figures. He added that the entire apparatus of the agency is under review to increase productivity and cut costs. These persons will be terminated in accordance with the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act.
“We realised that this was not sustainable at GWI… For the financial operations of GWI, we have to look at the expenses, not only employment costs. We’re looking at energy costs, other areas of operations, chemical uses and all of these things.”

Overlapping, inefficiency
Executive Director of Human Resources, Elvis Jordan detailed that GWI could function with just under 1000 persons, meaning that there was an excess of 300 employees. However, the entity currently has 1156 persons on its payroll after some persons resigned.
The review of operations would have also concluded that there was overlapping in functions and inefficiency.
“There were overlapping functions, leading to inefficiencies and excessive staffing. In some respect, we looked at the role of outsourcing certain functions against doing it in house. We factored in the cost-benefit analysis,” Jordan notified.
In 2015, the productivity ratio was five as opposed to 2020, when the number moved to 7.1. The Director stated that they are trying to bring this number down to 6.1, to conform with regional standards.
“When you look at best practice across utility in the developed world, it’s just about 2.6. Across the Caribbean, it’s 6.1. Our aim over the next five years is to get it to around 6.1. When we talk about the productivity factor, we’re talking about the number of employees as against 1000 customers, given your total customer base.”
Baksh, who had inherited the utility company in a poor financial state last year, had managed to reduce debts to suppliers from $800 million to $260 million from September to December 2020. By the end of December 2020 compared to the previous year, revenue also improved by over $1 billion. (G12)