– Minority Warns Nana Addo
The Minority Caucus in Parliament has expressed grave concern on the wanton dismissal and mass transfers of beneficiaries of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government recently.
According to the Minority, the short notice of transfer and dismissal of staff of the YEA, which is mainly a pro-youth agency, was not only illegal in their nature, but poses insecurity in the country if the situation is not stopped.
At a press conference yesterday, which was addressed by Minority Ranking member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon Kobena Mensah Woyome, the Minority described the mass transfer of workers of the Youth Employment Agency by management as “cruel” attempt to frustrate the beneficiaries so they could fill in with their families and cronies.
In their view, the YEA, which metamorphosed from the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and later GYEEDA, now has an Act of Parliament, Act 887(2015), giving it the legal backing to recruit staff through the Public Services Commission (PSC).
Mr. Woyome said this has been fully executed under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) since 2015, and that all beneficiaries and top management were engaged through the PSC, thereby making their engagement legal as civil servants.
However, when New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over power early this year, all top management directors at the head office, regional and districts were all asked to proceed on leave without any recourse to laid down procedures.
The directors were handed letters to proceed on leave and later this month recalled and given transfer notices to regions and districts outside their earlier respective initial places of work.
The action had affected over 200 workers of the YEA in the latest transfer which the new management claimed was intended to reposition the agency for higher productivity.
The transfers follow the deletion of some 16,000 people from the agency’s payroll alleged to be receiving pay without letter of appointment or work done for months and years, according to the new CEO, Justin Kodua Frimpong.
The transfer saw staff of YEA from the northern part of Ghana being transferred to the south and vice versa.
But the Minority said, “The mass transfers at YEA are punishment to the workers, knowing well that they cannot move to these places, there would be vacancies at these places for them [NPP] to fix their own people there.”
They argued that the action by the new management is backed with bad faith, adding that they knew it would be very impossible for any worker with meagre salary of YEA to rent an accommodation outside his or her current residence at such a short notice.
They further contended that “considering that they cannot move to those places, because their salaries cannot sustain them there, they will abandon the posts.”
The NDC Minority also questioned the basis for moving YEA workers from one region to another, saying “the government has failed on its promise of creating jobs for the youth, so the transfer will compel most of them to abandon the job and then they would have the opportunity of fixing their people.”
“The mass transfer of young people from one region to the other is a calculated attempt by the NPP knowing well that the salaries of these people cannot sustain them even in their areas? Is that the employment you claim you are creating? Because when it happens that they would not go, then you will say there is a vacancy for you to fill your own people and is that the job that you promised the people of Ghana?” The Minority queried.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor, MP for Pru East and Ranking member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, noted that the action of the current government on the YEA workers can bring insecurity in the country because most people will lose their jobs due to the distance.
“If today there is insecurity in the country, what would you say? The people you have transferred, are they not citizens of Ghana?” He contended.
The Minority described the transfer as an agenda to force staff to resign on their own, stating that such actions have the tendency of easily setting the agency back months in lost time and productivity.
On the allegation of beneficiaries being paid without work or with no appointment letters and so on, the Minority challenged management of the agency to publish the report alleging fraud in the scheme.
The YEA had earlier confirmed that it had deleted 16,839 names from its payroll after an internal audit showed that thousands of beneficiaries of YEA were being fraudulently paid.
The agency stated that the rot amounted to over GHc50 million upon investigations into the payroll after it noticed some discrepancies in the report handed to it by the managers under the previous administration.
Nevertheless, the Minority dared the YEA and its acting CEO, Justin Kodua Frimpong, to published the names of beneficiaries paid without appointment letters, accusing the government of “witch hunting, vilification and intimidation.”
They pointed out that, the computerised system put in place by the previous management cannot be manipulated for fraudulent acts, hence the allegation by the new management that the fraud occurred under the erstwhile government is questionable.
The Minority added that for the avoidance of doubt each beneficiary of YEA is biometrically registered which makes it easy to identify thed beneficiaries.
“We are challenging the leadership to produce the names, E-zwich numbers, modules, youth employment numbers, regions and districts for the said ghost names for the public to check if beneficiaries cannot be traced to the four cycles of the YEA.
“We are further challenging management to publish the said audit report of the internal audit agency it keeps referring to, together with the written responses of staff, who were cited or implicated in the said report.”
They expressed surprise that an agency that was remodelled to give meaningful employment to the teeming youth of the country could be turned into “political ball” at the disadvantage of youth who are in need of job.
The Minority charged the government to fulfil its electoral promises of creating jobs and stop dismissing workers in order to fill in their frustrated members, adding that the allegation of beneficiaries been NDC members where untenable as there was nothing like that in the Public Services Commission Act 1994 section7(b).
They however called on the media, religious leaders, civil society organisations and all well meaning Ghanaians to join their voices and call on the government to end the rampage act of dismissing people from legitimate office.
They also hinted at dragging the minister responsible to parliament to answer questions, stating, about three questions and a statement are already being filed in that regard.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba