GYEEDA To Rake In Billions… As YEA Overtakes GYEEDA

The Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency, GYEEDA is expected to rake in billions of cedis sourcing from among other Statutory Funds, a reasonable chunk of the District Assembly Common Fund for its operations. Under the Youth Employment Agency, YEA which would be replacing GYEEDA, the Youth Employment Fund is to be established through a sponsored bill before Parliament under the hand of the Honourable Minister of Employment and Labour Relations dated 27th October, 2014. In section 21 of the Youth Employment Agency bill, it states that “there is established by this Act, a Youth Employment Fund.” The source of money for the Fund according to Section 23 would be moneys approved by Parliament for the Fund namely; -Fifteen percent (15%) of moneys accruing to the District Assembly Common Fund; -Ten percent (10%) of moneys accruing to the National Health Insurance Scheme; -Five percent (5%) of moneys accruing to the Ghana Education Trust Fund; -Grants, donations, gifts and other voluntary contributions; and -Any other moneys approved by the Minister responsible for Finance. The bill before Parliament which seeks to create YEA to replace GYEEDA forms part of the restructuring of the Agency as was instructed by His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama when he was appointing Mr Kobby Acheampong as the new Chief Executive of GYEEDA. It would be recalled that when several issues of corruption and misappropriation of funds engulfed the Agency, the report from a committee set up to look into the matters amidst a huge public outcry advised the president appropriately to consider the issue of funding and legality of GYEEDA. In response, the President appointed Mr Acheampong to go the Agency with the mandate of restructuring GYEEDA and giving it a legal mandate. Funds accumulated from through the establishment of the Fund shall be used for the payment of the allowances of the beneficiaries on the internship modules; the training of a beneficiary in a trade or vocation; the payment of Service Providers who have been contracted by the Agency to implement specific modules developed by the Agency and for the administrative expenses of the Agency as approved by the Minister responsible for Finance. When this bill come into being the biggest challenge would be the strict adherence to the provisions of this law by Government. We are in the last quarter of the year 2014 yet statutory payments from last year 2013 are still in arrears. It would be a disaster if the very problem this law seeks to cure persist mainly because the government decides to dishonour its dictates. An accountant in the public sector TNF spoke to regarding the Fund management of the Agency expressed misgivings about Section 24 subsection 2 which allows the Board to apply two percent (2%) of the Fund for oversight coordination and Supervision by the Ministry. “Why would a separate such free hand be given to the Board? he quipped. On accounting for the Fund, the Board has been entrusted with that mandate. The Minister shall however be the Authority to submit the audited report to Parliament accompanying same with a statement he/she may deem fit. Despite the fact that there shall be a Board managing the affairs of the Agency, the Bill, gives so much power to the Minister under whose Ministry the Agency operates. When TNF spoke to a private Legal Practitioner with a huge background in Parliamentary Legislation, he predicted that, when the bill is discussed on the floor of Parliament, it is most likely that the Agency would corrected to be Authority. He argues that since the reform on commissions, all Agencies were to be converted into Commissions or Authorities. Considering the long journey the effort at solving the unemployment challenge in Ghana has come spilling over regimes and administrations, a Labour consultant expressed dissatisfaction at the seriousness with which the nation confronts that problem. He said; “Employment is a security matter. And it can harm the national security structure in several ways. It is therefore imperative that Government finds a better and lasting solution to it.”