by Linda Straker
- In October 2022, chairman Joseph said his tenure does not include winding up
- St Clair advocating for MNIB to return under Ministry of Agriculture supervision
- CIWU tight-lipped about retrenchment allegation
Henry Joseph, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB), is reticent on the claim that several workers will be retrenched in 2023 as part of a restructuring strategy.
“I just cannot comment on the issue, cannot say if it’s true or false,” Joseph said when asked to confirm speculation also raised by Senator Roderick St Clair in his deliberations on the 2023 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure during the Upper House debate on Tuesday, 20 December 2022.
St Clair advocated for the MNIB to return under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, and told the House that it was his understanding that several workers are down for retrenchment.
George Mason, President of the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU), was tight-lipped about the retrenchment allegation but confirmed there is a discussion ongoing with the Board regarding the employment arrangement for workers of the statutory body.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, in a news conference on 19 July 2022, said that the operations of the MNIB were costing Government, and based on preliminary briefings from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, consideration is being given to shutting its doors. “I want to be very clear, that based on my preliminary briefing as it pertains to MNIB, we may have to seriously consider ending the life of the MNIB and reconstituting either a new entity or an entity that really was meant to carry out the mandate of the MNIB.”
“I am saying this early, it may not, or it does not come as a surprise if we find ourselves there sooner rather than later. We are here to take decisions, sometimes hard decisions. We simply cannot continue kicking the football down the road and expect that you can always come to the Government for bailout after bailout, after bailout with no turnaround in the fortunes of the entity, with no real plan to achieve the things that the MNIB was meant to do,” he added.
The Henry Joseph Board of Directors was appointed in August 2022, coinciding with the resignation of then-General Manager Afia Joseph. During an interview in October 2022, the chairman said that the terms of reference for his tenure do not include a wind-up of the statutory board. “Our role is not to wind up the operation. We did not receive such instructions. Our terms of reference do not include that.”