Isaac Asiamah The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, has questioned why the government wants to rush in passing the new Youth Employment Agency Bill (2014) which is to replace the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) without first retrieving the GH¢1.5 billion lost through the corruption scandal that hit the agency under the present government.
The minority yesterday blocked the intended debate on the new Bill after the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, had moved the motion for it to be introduced and debated.
The minority strongly argued on the limited number of parliamentarians in the chamber which did not form a quorum for such an important bill to be discussed.
Quorum is formed when one-third of Members of Parliament are present in the chamber for any business of the House to go on.
The debate has however, been scheduled for today The MP for Atwima Mponua, who is also the ranking member for Youth, Sports and Culture, told DAILY GUIDE that he did not understand why the government was rushing to push the bill through without first implementing the white paper or recommendation on investigations into corrupt practices under GYEEDA. The investigations indicted that some individuals and companies had dubiously diverted taxpayers' money amounting to GH¢1.5 billion.
“This money is a huge money and keeps rising as a result of accumulating interest and therefore the government cannot just sweep this important matter under the carpet and ask parliament to pass another bill to establish a new youth agency which could also be another potential source for taxpayers' money to be siphoned,” he said, stressing that the minority will strongly register its sentiments on the new bill when the debate begins today.
“We want to rest our arsenals for today and the whole nation will hear from us because this government is just not serious about how the scarce resources of this country are utilised to the benefit of Ghanaians,” he noted, adding that report on the investigations into GYEEDA's operations had just been given to members of parliament for scrutiny.
“This white paper is a 120-page document and aspects even suggest that the investigators did not have access to all the information they needed so there is more to this GYEEDA rot,” Mr. Isaac Asiamah underscored.
The ranking member said GYEEDA, which was born out of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), was the creation of the NPP government in 2005 and therefore as members of the NPP caucus in parliament, they would not sit aloof for the programme to be desecrated.
The minister of Employment and Labour, who is also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Tamale South, in moving the motion, admitted that there were some problems with GYEEDA that was why the government had introduced the new programme with legal backing to give employment to the teeming youth in the country.
According to the minister, the new programme would be run under the Civil Service and funded from the GETFund, Communication Service Tax, District Assembly Common Fund, Road Fund and the National Health Insurance Fund.
“This new youth agency is going to be the solution to youth unemployment in the country and all the youth of the country, irrespective of one's political colour or tribal background, would be given employment under this new youth employment agency,” the minister said.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr