THE MINORITY National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament has confessed that it was only playing politics with the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) despite knowing its huge socio-economic impact.
The Member of Parliament for Sawla/Kalba, Mr. Donald Dari Soditey, who is the Deputy Ranking member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and Enterprises, made the confession when he addressed pioneers of the Health Extension Workers Module at the Psychiatric Training School in Accra.
The Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and Enterprises, which supervises activities of the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment, was on a fact-finding tour of projects being executed by the Ministry.
The Select Committee visited the Zoom Lion, a refuse collection and waste management company at Nmai Dzorn, a suburb of Accra, the Community Protection Unit at Kanda Highways and Airport, the interns at the Controller and Accountant General's Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Value Added Tax (VAT) Service.
Mr. Soditey acknowledged that the NDC MPs were aware of the quality and importance of the programme, with regard to solving the unemployment problem in the country but had to resort to politicking.
He commended the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for initiating the NYEP by sticking to its decision notwithstanding the many criticisms from the opposition.
Mr. Soditey said the government did listen to some of their suggestions and incorporated them into the programme, thereby enriching its contents in the long run.
The Chairman of the Select Committee, Mr. Paul Okoh, who is also the MP for Asutifi North, told the trainees to count themselves lucky since they were the pioneers of the project.
He reminded them of the sacrificial nature of their work as 'nurses' and so they should not be carried away by the desire to get rich quick, urging them to work hard to make the project successful.
Mr. Okoh advised them to be guided by the desire to help the society improve upon its health delivery system to make heath care accessible to all.
On his part, the sector minister, Mr. Abubakar Saddique Boniface told the trainees that in Parliament all the political parties were united for a common purpose and advised them not to be taken in by the 'cosmetic' display of antagonism depicted by the media.
He stated it was the desire of every government to eradicate unemployment and poverty in society and thus, the Kufuor administration was no exception.
Mr. Boniface noted that some of the trainees were in the project out of frustration, while others were in it because of their love for the profession.
He therefore promised that those who genuinely wanted to improve on their situation would be assisted to upgrade their skills after completing the course to another level until they became Registered Nurses.
The Minister said the trainees were entitled to a ¢400,000 monthly allowance for their transportation and would qualify for other allowances and fringe benefits at the end of their training.
According to the programme Coordinator, Mrs. Joyce Esi Anson, the trainees were drawn from the Osu Klottey and Kpeshie Metros and were expected to be trained for six months.
Earlier, at the Zoom Lion project site, the Committee members were conducted round by Dr. Dan Ofori, Mr. Prince Amoatia -both consultants- and Mrs. Florence Larbie, the Acting General Manager.
They said in collaboration with the NYEP, the company had employed over 25 youth who had been deployed in various fields of endeavour.
It was disclosed that Zoom Lion was a self-supporting entity with affiliation to Zoom Lion China.
It was again disclosed that by 2015 it would be fully integrated as a company in the refuse collection and waste management industry.
They appealed to the Legislators to help formulate laws to empower Zoom Lion to manage the huge waste being generated in the country.
Other members of the Committee were Ms. Josephine Hilda Addoh, MP for Kwadaso; Mr. Mohammed Jagri, MP for Zabzugu/Tatale;
Mr. Samuel Adu Gyamfi, MP for Aowin; Mr. Charles Hodogbey, MP for North Tongu; Mr. Joseph Amenowode, MP for Hohoe South; Mr. Alfred Abayateye, MP for Sege; James Appiatu-Ankrah, MP for Lower West Akim and Mr. Okuley Nortey, MP for Ablekuma Central.