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Port silo head sacked after study.

Summary: Economy Minister Raed Khoury announced Friday his decision to end the services of the director general of Port of Beirut's silo and five other employees for committing violations during their tenure.

BEIRUT: Economy Minister Raed Khoury announced Friday his decision to end the services of the director general of Port of Beirut's silo and five other employees for committing violations during their tenure. "After receiving various complaints from merchants for the delay experienced at Port of Beirut's silo and the financial losses resulting from such delays, we have decided to end the services of the director general of the port's silo along with five other employees because they have committed huge mistakes," he said at a press conference held at the Economy Ministry.

Khoury said he made his decision in a very objective manner, especially as the ministry has plenty of proof of clear malpractice.

"Some political parties called me to question this move but I explained to them the reasons behind it. Some were very understanding but others were not. It's their problem. I even turned off my telephone since this morning because some of the calls were not reasonable at all," he said.

"The fight against corruption has started. It's a long way that we will be taking but we will never back off," he added.

Khoury said his ministry hired PWC to conduct a comprehensive study on the silo's work mechanisms from administrative and financial perspectives. The study showed, according to the minister, a big number of administrative, financial and operational violations.

On the administrative level, the study showed proof of neglect in the maintenance of machinery and equipment and the lack of a strategy for a preventive and regular maintenance of the equipment. "There is no record of the damages that take place and for the spare parts that are exchanged with the dates of exchanges which are considered very basic in the regulation process of the port's silo," the study said.

It also said that the port's silo does not adopt any safety measures to protect workers despite the fact that one of the workers got paralyzed during his work in the past.

The study added that the entrances to the port's silo are always opened because the doors were not fixed to close properly which allows people who do not work at the port to enter at any time.

On the financial level, the study noted that the silo's administration has been incurring continuous losses since 2013 to date while its revenues are continuously regressing. "Also, 80 percent of the silo's expenses are used to cover the payment of workers' salaries, social benefits and end of service benefits and this is a very high percentage," it said. It added that the available accounting system is very old and no modifications took place to modernize this system.

In this framework, the minister said that the continuous losses threaten the permanent operation of the silo and this will affect the jobs of 100 employees and their families. "It is my responsibility to take measures to fight corruption in this place in a bid to protect these families," he said.

On the operational level, the study maintained that 14 out of 100 employees do not show up to work on time while it also showed that some workers tend to enter the port during late hours without any justification. It also said that around 24 employees are not productive while some of the employees do not do their jobs which disrupts the work flow and results in financial losses.

It added that around 22 employees out of 40 were employed without any proof for a real need for their services. "Also, the employer did not take into consideration some very important employment criteria such as age, education and experience," it said. The study also showed that the silo's administration is very weak and incapable of properly managing employees. "Moreover, PWC showed continuous absence for the silo's director general or a late show up to work especially at the time when the work requires his presence to smoothly run the operations," it said.

It also noted a lack of cooperation among the different departments in addition to other serious violations.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Aug 12, 2017
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