The National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) is to be given a facelift and new legal status as a non-partisan youth business development and employment public agency.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the weekend, the National Co-ordinator of the Programme, Mr Abuga Pele, said the move was aimed at erasing the perception that the Programme was a recruitment conduit for political party adherents.
“As a first step to move the NYEP away from over politicisation, beneficiaries who were recruited under the previous administration who wish to continue under the programme, have been offered the option for renewal of their contracts and appointments,” he said.
Mr Abuga Pele emphasised that the National Democratic Congress in its campaign manifesto promised that the party would “Revamp the NYEP when voted into power”.
He said President John Evans Atta Mills, had implemented what he described as, far-reaching structural reforms and redirection of the operational focus of the programme.
Mr Abuga Pele stated that among the measures being implemented to de-politicise the programme include the introduction of on-line registration, which would reduce direct contact to eliminate political influence in the recruitment of beneficiaries.
He enumerated a number of challenges militating against the programme including a sustainable funding regime stemming from the “unclear definition of the status of the NYEP from its inception.”
The National Co-ordinator said: “As a measure to facilitate efficient and effective mandate delivery, we have submitted a comprehensive Draft Bill to government for consideration.”
“When enacted into law, the Bill will give meaning and direction to the business of youth employment in the country
“Apart from being a Public Sector Agency responsible for youth development and employment, it will be a medium to co-ordinate youth activity towards reducing youth unemployment,” he said.
Mr Abuga Pele said the Draft Bill would inform the structure, funding arrangements and institutional position of the NYEP in the Public Sector under the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
“The politicisation of the issue of youth employment is to belittle the scope and availability of the nation’s manpower resource, which is vital for national development.
“The youth is the most active segment of our national labour asset, which must be developed and harnessed for accelerated national economic development.”
He said: “When this segment is divided along partisan lines the nation will remain underdeveloped.”
Mr Abuga Pele said the current administration of the Programme had endeavoured not only to clear the payment of the arrears of allowances of beneficiaries, but had also increased their number to about 100,000 throughout the country with a target of more than 500,000 by 2013.