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Everything abouth this Akufo Addo/Bawumia government is a scam. In fact they’ve succeeded in scamming beneficiaries of NABCO. Aside starving them for nine months without their GHC700 stipends, government, through Ken Ofori Atta, has finally told them the bitter truth they’ve been hiding from them all along- “we have no permanent jobs for you”.
At paragraph 25 of the 2022 midyear budget review, the Finance Minister annoyingly said, after September 1, all NABCO beneficiaries should take advantage of the yet to launched and funded YouStart program. This latest twist of event is contrary to NPP manifesto promise to give these beneficiaries permanent employment.
I can say with all certainty that the mentioning of YouStart as alternative source of employment for beneficiaries is unrealistic and impracticable. I was privileged, together with Edem Agbana, to represent the NDC Youth Wing at a stakeholder engagement for the rollout of YouStart. Aside the inconsistent dates government has so far given to launch the program without suscess, the source of funding for that program is problematic.
Government was banking hopes on proceeds from e-levy to fund YouStart. Unfortunately for government, this revenue has so far performed badly. The amount government projected to raise from e-levy was not met at the last review. This has put the launch of YouStart on ice. The program was to be launched in April but this never happened and as it stands now, there is no indication as to when it would be launched.
There is no dedicated source of funding for YouStart aside e-levy. At the stakeholders engagement, both NEIP and Youth Authority admitted there was no legal framework to operationalized YouStart. Both State entities were almost certain that without e-levy, there would be nothing like YouStart.
In the midst of this uncertainty over YouStart, the Akufo Addo/Bawumia government is advising beneficiaries to turn their attention to that direction after callously failing to pay their stipends for nine months. The directive to beneficiaries is even problematic, to say the least. It is truism that not everybody can be entrepreneur.
However, the Akufo Addo/Bawumia government wants to force every young man or woman angling for job to reluctantly become an entrepreneur using a non-existenting YouStart program. The program, as was explained at the stakeholders engagement, is a competitive proposal funding ‘competition’ by the implementing agencies. It’s not automatic that when a NABCO beneficiary applies to benefit from YouStart, s/he will get it.
A beneficiary must submit a proposal about a business venture and when the implementing agencies are satisfied about its viability, then it’d be funded. This cannot be a substitute to the promise by Akufo Addo and Bawunia to provide permanent jobs for NABCO beneficiaries. These young men and women have been offered raw deal.
The most frustrating aspect is that the Finance Minister was tight lipped on their nine month areas except to say government has so far spent 2.2 billion on them. This certainly cannot be how to treat the already suffering Youth of our Country. Things must change and that change is not guaranteed under Akufo Addo and Bawumia.
Amos Blessing Amorse
Deputy Greater Accra Regional Youth Organizer- NDC