The recent global economic downturn has affected operations of companies worldwide, including those of major media houses in the country.

The situation, as explained by the Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr Ibrahim Awal, at the company’s 2009 mid-year staff durbar, had impacted heavily on the company’s operations, prompting the management to cut down on cost, particularly on medical incentives for staff.

According to the managing director, the cedi had depreciated by about 22 per cent against the US dollar, increasing the cost of operations of the company to over GH¢300,000.

This, he said, could also be attributed to the fact that most of the consumables used by the company were imported.

Currently, he said the company had spent about GH¢800,000 on repayment of loans for its new press house to Stanbic and Ecobank, as well as on prints for production.

“The global downturn has also affected advertising revenue, and from January to June this year, revenue targets have been decreasing badly,” he stated, and pointed out that management and staff could mitigate the problem.

“We must work hard, for the time some personnel arrive at work is not encouraging, and company hours are not being utilised adequately,” he said, and added that though Graphic was a profitable company, workers needed to change their attitude in order to work and make it more profitable.

To that effect, Mr Awal announced that from next year, payment of bonus for staff would be based on performance of individual staff.

He also indicated that although the company had about 75 per cent share of total advertisement in the media in the country, unfortunately it had about GH¢230,000.

“What we need to do is to reduce waste. We have to leverage our competence and credibility to make money,” he urged, and indicated that, for example, issues of unsold publications were a problem worldwide.

He was, however, hopeful that things would improve soon as the company intended to diversify its operations into the electronic media by next year, with the establishment of a radio station.

Earlier, questions were asked as to why the company had cut down on health incentives for staff, and Mr Awal explained that it was not deliberate to deny staff of those incentives, but management had to resort to that measure as a result of the impact of the global economic crisis on the operations of the company.

The Editor of Daily Graphic, Mr Randsford Tetteh, who also responded to some issues raised about the content of the newspaper, said the editorial team always took into account the sensibility of the reading public, that was why it did not publish just any human interest story with a view of making profit.

“We do not have to follow what others are doing,” he said, but welcomed suggestions from members of staff as to how to derive the desired impact.

The General Services Manager, Mr B. B. Awuah, who is in charge of the construction of the company’s new press house, said although management could not penalise the contractor for the delay, there were provisions in the contract that allowed management to abrogate the contract and ask for damages, a situation he ruled out.

“What we are interested in is to get the work completed,” he said, and gave the assurance that management, together with external consultants, were doing their best to ensure that the project was completed on time for the equipment, which was brought in last year, to be installed.

Long service certificates were presented to some members of staff.

Source: Daily Graphic