It will be recalled that in the lead up to the 2016 General Elections, the National Youth Organiser of the then opposition New Patriotic Party, Sammi Awuku, described as heartless and extorting the sale of recruitment vouchers to Ghanaian youth seeking to join the nation’s security agencies.
The National Youth Organizer of the largest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) said a Nana Akufo Addo government in 2017, will ensure that recruitment vouchers are not sold to Ghanaian youth who want to serve the country in the various security services.
He said “during the NPP regime and at the time we were exiting power, we never sold forms for the security services, Nana Akufo Addo is saying Ghanaian youth who are loyal, dedicated and motivated by love for the country who want to serve Ghana, will not be required to pay ¢100 for any forms as it recently happened with the police, furthermore one is asked to pay ¢200 to sit the entrance exams, out of the over 20,000 people who bought the forms the Police administration admits only 1,500 people. A Nana Akufo Addo Presidency will ensure that these application forms are not sold.”
However, despite this firm promise by the then NPP National Youth Organiser, it is sad to note that recruitment forms into various security agencies are still being sold for 100ghs or more, depending on the security agency, after almost five years in office of an NPP Administration. It, therefore, begs repeating “what happened to the free recruitment forms promised by the NPP”?
This is despite the fact that the majority of the Youth of this country remain unemployed, as witnessed by the thousands of young Ghanaians who thronged the El Wak Sports Stadium on Monday, July 19, 2021, in Accra to participate in a documentation and medical screening process for recruitment into the Ghana Armed Forces.
The NPP 2020 Manifesto pledges targeted at the Youth of this country further reinforces the notion that this Administration is determined to exploit the youth of this country and take them for granted. Among them as contained in page 189 include “over the next four years, we plan to tackle the rental segment of the housing market providing the youth with low-interest loans to enable them to pay rent advance.
We will also implement programmes to reduce further the cost of data to support youth-focused businesses, and to be the drivers of our digital services. We will implement the $200 million Job and Skills Project which will provide youth-owned small businesses with grants, training, apprenticeship, and entrepreneurial skills. Furthermore, we will designate the creative arts industry as a major growth pole and establish a Creative Arts Fund to support artists”.
The above promise in the NPP manifesto does not include the promise to provide the Youth vehicles as an alternative to the legalization of motorcycles for commercial purposes, a term commonly referred to as “Okada”. The state of unemployment in the sub-region is further reiterated by the African Development Bank (ADB) report on Jobs for Youth in Africa: Catalyzing Youth Opportunities across Africa, which concluded that of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are vulnerably employed, and only one in six is in wage employment. As a result, 263 million young people will lack an economic stake in the system by 2025.
Conclusion and Recommendation
In conclusion, as a result of the gross incompetence, mismanagement of resources, and poor governance served the Youth of this country, which has gradually reflected in a society of no opportunities, the promise by the NPP to provide free application forms for recruitment into various security agencies will come in handy especially at this critical period of time, as it urgently needed by the Youth.
As a recommendation, I urge Government to create a portal that will allow the Youth unable to purchase forms to apply freely, whilst those who have already purchased forms must be given a refund of their application fees. In other jurisdictions, unemployment benefits are paid. If we do not have a welfare package as exists in other societies, at least we should be more sensitive to the plight of our youth seeking for jobs and employment opportunities.
The current regime is exploitative as it puts too much pressure on the already distressed youth searching for jobs. The promise by the NPP if kept would reduce such pressures, and provide the Youth with ample opportunities, despite current economic challenges and setbacks.
The writer is a private legal practitioner, human rights activist, Member of Parliament for Madina Constituency, Member of the Appointments Committee, and Deputy Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament. He can be contacted via: firstname.lastname@example.org
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