The Forestry Commission says personnel of the Youth in Afforestation Programme will from this month have their allowances paid promptly.
It follows last month’s demonstrations at the Commission’s offices by personnel over delayed allowances covering eight months.
Chief Executive, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, says the Commission owes its workers for three months.
Over 65,000 beneficiaries out of initial 15,000 were employed nationwide last year for the Youth in Afforestation module of the Youth Employment Agency.
Following the protests over delayed allowances, the Forestry Commission has paid two months worth of allowances.
Mr. Owusu Afriyie has been engaging with beneficiaries on a working visit to the Ashanti Region.
He was at Bomfobiri and Anumso Forest Reserve as well as Offin Headwork Plantation sites at Kumawu and Mampong Forestry Districts.
Mr. Owusu Afriyie told JoyNews the five months arrears the personnel claim are incorrect.
"We have heard people talk about the fact that we are owing them six months arrears. Entirely it is not so. Not all of them begun the job at the same time; some began in April, others in May. Here especially and elsewhere, it was June-July that we employed them. And if you employ somebody in say July, August, September, October, November and December, you certainly cannot owe the person eight months or six months as they say," he said.
Mr. Owusu-Afriyie however concedes there are some few months arrears which the Finance Ministry has to pay this month.
"It is true that there are some arrears to be paid. We managed to pay up to September.
In January, the Minister has assured me he will give me more support to pay. And I'm hoping that we would be able to clear October and November allowances. In effect, we would have only December and January to pay."
The Forestry Commission has since the middle of last year alone planted 24,000 hectares or over 60,000 acres of land involving about 25 million tree seedlings.
Tree species planted include teak, Cinderella, Oframo, Amire and Mahogany.
About 10,200 hectares were planted under the Youth in Afforestation Programme alone.
According to Mr. Owusu-Afriyie, government is working assiduously to ensure beneficiaries are paid without protests.
"We do not want to see the kind of demonstrations that we would have had and so he would find the money to pay these young people who in spite of the challenges and difficulties they are still working."
Mr. Owusu-Afriyie is happy about the progress made so far.
"As a Forestry Commission, we have employed over 65,000 young men and women. That is also part of the government's vision of putting money in peoples' pocket and putting food on our tables. The government's approach to given employment to young people of this country is also been achieved through this programme."
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