Upper East Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr Patrick Abakeh , told the Asuogyaman Fm that due to government’s inability to employ these graduates, they take advantage of the situation to render services to members of the public at their own determined fees.
The unemployed veterinary technicians often buy drugs on the open market for their services.
“The monies go into their pockets instead of government coffers after the tax payers’ monies were spent to train them,” Dr Abakeh said.
The Regional Veterinary Officer who could not value the quantum of revenue lost as result of activities of these “squatters” bemoaned the actions of the Technicians and said their activities could affect revenue targets for the veterinary service.
Dr Abakeh noted that the unemployed veterinary technicians usually charged more than the prescribed fees per bird or animals they attend to thereby putting burden on poor farmers and other members of the public.
He however acknowledged that even though the activities of these graduates were causing revenue leakages to the state, “these veterinary technicians are rendering services to our farmers that their service cannot be quantified in monetary terms since we don’t have enough staff to meet the demand”.
He therefore appealed to government to consider filling the staffing deficit in the region in order to block some of these revenue leakages.
Dr Abakeh said the demand for services from Department was enormous but due to the shortage of staff “it has made it possible for the unemployed veterinary officers to fill in and serve our farmers but they are not been properly monitored and the results are not always good.”
He cautioned the public against seeking the services of the unemployed veterinary officers who sometimes administer unapproved drugs to animals and birds thereby causing mortality in animals
The staff strength in the Upper East Region currently stands at 44 veterinary officers and Technical staff instead of the required 145.
Dr Abakeh said the lack of logistics such as motorbikes, veterinary instruments and other support services were other challenges confronting the service in the region.
He said sometimes when officials use their own logistics to serve clients they raise charges of some of the services, because the staff usually fill and use their own means of transport for outreach and add up the cost of service even though they are not approved charges.
“Because we don’t give them fuel, when they go out, they put the cost of the fuelling on the charges, so if something is supposed to be GHS1, they will increase it to GHS1.50,” Dr Abakeh added.
At least 40 unemployed Veterinary Technicians (nurses) in the region who graduated from the only veterinary College in the country based in Pong-Tamale, and the Animal Health Production College, are yet to be formerly engaged by government.