A fellow at the Center for Policy Research, Sam Donkor has waded into the controversy over the relevance of the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme [LESDEP] instituted by the government in April this year.

Speaking on Multi TV’s current affairs programme, PM EXPRESS, Mr. Donkor described the programme as unnecessary, saying the government should have concentrated on empowering the private sector to become the engine of growth instead of introducing a new module for job creation since if the private sector is empowered, it can contribute towards job creation in the country.

“Creating modules and imparting skills is not the way to go now, it is my understanding that we already have the skills existing in the economy…it is the harmonization and how we utilize these skills that are our problem”, he noted.

According to him, “it is the weaknesses in the private sector system that is forcing government to create these modules.”

He described the National Youth Employment Programme [NYEP] as a mere ‘political institution’, raising questions over the modules introduced under the programme.

“What is the main job of the eco-brigade group? By my understanding, [they are] to keep our beaches clean in order for tourism to be promoted. Are our beaches not already being taken care of by another group of people who are employed by the Ministry of Tourism?” he questioned, adding “is it not the mandate of the Ministry of Tourism to keep all our tourism sites clean and attractive? Do we have to keep a certain group of youth and say “your job is to keep the beaches clean” whereas the Ministry of Tourism which is the authority responsible for keeping these places clean has another budget for that purposes? Clearly, its job for the boys.”

The National Coordinator of the NYEP, Abuga Pele who was also on the show, however countered Mr. Donkor’s criticisms saying those against the LESDEP are doing so because they do not understand how the NYEP functions.

He explained that the NYEP is a government intervention programme and that LESDEP will run differently and will focus mainly on enterprises.

“I do not see any dramatic inconsistency in the fact that LESDEP exists and NYEP exists…the more skills centers [we have] the better”

Mr. Pele also defended the creation of LESDEP, insisting that it would not only be about improving skills, but would also ensure that people have their private enterprises.

“This means that LESDEP will lead to ownership”, he said, explaining that a group of young people with a particular skill can come together under the programme to be assisted to purchase machinery for their trade which they will pay for in due time.

Story by Adwoa Dansowaa Awuku/Multi TV