From next week, all the one hundred and eight thousand, four hundred and three workers under the National Youth Employment Programme nationwide are expected to receive their April allowance, Manpower and Employment Minister Nana Akomea has said.
This follows conclusive arrangements reached last week with the State-owned Agricultural Development Bank and the Ministry of Manpower and Employment.
According to the Minister, after studying various proposals and offers from almost all the commercial banks in the country, ADB offered the most convenient proposal, hence its selection.
Nana Akomea said, "the arrangement with ADB is such that it offered the best terms such that even when the account has not been credited, the bank will continue to pay those allowances every month".
In a hurried, but delayed news conference in Accra yesterday, the Minister assured that an offer letter will be signed with officials of the bank moments after the news conference.
But first, the Ministry will submit the names of all workers under the NYEP for accounts to be opened for them at all the 50 branches of ADB countrywide so that their accounts can be credited every month.
Where the bank has no branch, it will pay NYEP workers through a special arrangement with a rural bank in the nearest locality.
That means that the monthly wage bill of Gh¢6.4m will be credited to an account at ADB for onward transfer to various accounts of NYEP workers at ADB.
The agreement with the bank also states that, where there is a delay in payment, the bank will process the allowance in advance for a management fee of 1.29 percent.
According to Nana Akomea, the delay in the payment of the allowances was due to delay in payment from the traditional sources of funding.
He said for instance, the National Health Insurance Scheme, which was supposed to pay ¢50 billion old Ghana cedis from January could only pay ¢20 billion old Ghana cedis last week.
"Our best hope, which we thought could solve the problems of delay was the talk time tax, but unfortunately only 20 percent of that tax would be allocated to the NYEP to be advanced every six months. This arrangement means that every six months only 10 percent will be advanced to the programme."
When asked when the backlog of arrears will be cleared, the Minister said "we are going into a special arrangement with the Finance Ministry so that the arrears for January and February will be paid in July whilst that of March will be paid in August, but the ADB arrangement will start only from April," he reiterated.
The traditional sources of funding for the NYEP has been the District Assembly Common Fund, GETFUND, Road Fund, HIPC and other investment programmes. But these have been unreliable with delays in payment, almost crippling the otherwise laudable programme.