The Programmes Manager of Youth Empowerment for Life (YEfL) Salifu Mahama has cautioned the Ghanaian youth not to bank all their hopes on GYEEDA, but rather should focus on developing their own businesses since entrepreneurship has proven to be a true path to self-sufficiency and wealth creation.
He said GYEEDA which could have been the best antidote to youth unemployment in the country failed due to lack of proper scrutiny to ascertain the capacity and capabilities of individuals and companies who were awarded contracts to execute some of its models.
According to him, until something good is done now about GYEEDA by way of rigorous restructuring and overhauling, the youth should be less hopeful of anything offered by the agency.
“The way forward for the Ghanaian youth today is entrepreneurship. You just count ten of the world’s richest people and you’ll notice that none of them is an employee. If you come to Ghana, it’s the same thing….all the rich people in Ghana are employers and not employees”, he observed.
Mr. Mahama made these remarks when he addressed a brainstorm session of youth leaders and former recruits of GYEEDA in Tamale. The session which was organised by YEfL focused on the Ghana Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Development Agency (GYEEDA) and the youth employment situation in the country.
Recent exposé of its activities by Investigative Journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni suggested that, GYEEDA is a ground for government appointees and their cronies to fleece the nation’s resources rather than making serious commitment towards ensuring that the youth of Ghana realise their life’s aspirations.
Several millions of cedis were discovered to have been allegedly misappropriated and contracts awarded to persons who did not have the capacity to deliver or honour the terms and conditions of such contracts. In some instances, some of the companies were alleged to have deliberately shortchanged government during implementation processes or execution of the contracts awarded to them.
Example of some of the companies that were cited in the exposé and charged by the government to refund some amounts of money included Zoomlion Ghana, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies, Rlg Communications, Craftpro Limited and Asongtaba Cottage Industries of the AGAMS Group of Companies and Goodwill International.
The AGAMS Group of Companies according to Joy News report have since refunded a total of GH¢14,498,198.33 to the state. The money was paid into the Economic and Organised Crime Office’s bank account at the Bank of Ghana on April 24, 2014.
Relatively, some of the participants at the session also expressed less hope in GYEEDA, because according to them, some of the models created under the agency are discriminatory. They cited for instance, the youth in driving programme which is only limited to certain regions in the southern part of the country instead of the entire country.
There is also lack of serious monitoring and supervision, some participants said, and as a result, a lot of people engaged in models such as health and pupil teaching, refuse to go to work and yet receive their allowances at the end of every month.
On whether GYEEDA jobs are sustainable, a lot of the participants disagreed saying “there are numerous ghost names on the payroll of the agency”. There are a lot of people who have not been officially engaged by the agency but they are paid every month because that is a secret arrangement between them and the Coordinators to steal from the state.
Participants also noted that, the over politicization of GYEEDA is causing more harm than good to the youth of this country. “We have situations where many of those engaged by GYEEDA are political party activists and they think once it is their government that is in power, they can refuse to work and get paid”, they decried.
On the way forward, participants suggested that government place GYEEDA under the National Youth Authority and appoint a coordinator to have oversight responsibilities over its programmes and do away with the status quo where it is being run as a separate entity.
Government, they opined, should also institute a rigorous monitoring and supervision scheme to ensure that anyone engaged by GYEEDA to teach, work in a hospital or any public office reports to work and punish or sack those who refuse to work.