A Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and the President’s Special Initiatives (PSIs), Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, has stated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government would not scrap the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) when voted back into power in December 2008.
According to him, the NPP government, when retained in power, would continue with all its human-centred policies and programmes such as the NYEP, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), fee free education at the basic school level, the School Feeding Programme, free medical care for pregnant women, among other interventions aimed at putting money back in the pockets of the people.
Mr Agyeman Manu said this in response to a question posed by Mr Kojovi, a farmer, at the Brong Ahafo Regional People’s Assembly held at the Techiman Community Centre in the Techiman municipality yesterday.
The questioner wanted to know whether the NYEP would be scrapped after the end of President Kufuor’s term of office and where the government would get the money to pay the salaries of personnel under the programme.
Mr Agyeman Manu stated that the NPP government, under President Kufuor, as a way of fulfilling its promise of creating jobs for the youth, introduced the NYEP and so the programme would be sustained, just like others that were aimed at alleviating poverty.
He said the government had so many ways of sourcing funds to pay personnel under the NYEP and, therefore, there was no cause for alarm, saying the only way the NYEP could be sustained was for the electorate to retain the NPP in power to continue with that laudable programme.
Mr Agyeman Manu appealed to personnel engaged under the various modules of the NYEP to exercise restraint whenever there was a delay in the payment of their salaries, since the quarterly salary payment was not deliberate.
Some of the questions asked at the assembly, which was attended by a sparse audience, ranged from health care, food security, the construction of roads to enable farmers cart their farm produce to the marketing centres, sanitation, security, the granting of loans, delay in the payment of workers’ salaries, unnecessary deductions from workers’ salaries, the perceived partisan nature of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), among others.
Responding to another question asked by Pastor Owusu Afriyie of the Harvesters Evangelistic Ministry at Techiman on the Presidential pardon granted Mr Dan Abodakpi, a former Minister of Trade and Industry under the NDC regime, Mr Agyeman Manu noted that the recommendations as to who should be pardoned by the President were made by the prison authorities and not the President.
Pastor Afriyie also wanted to know whether it was only politicians who were granted the Presidential pardon because there were many ordinary Ghanaians who had been languishing in prison for a very long time but whose cases had not been determined.
Mr Agyeman Manu, who is also a former Deputy Minister of the Interior, said it was not true that the Presidential Pardon was for only politicians and suggested to Pastor Afriyie that if he knew of anybody who had been on remand for a long period without his/her case being heard he could petition the committee set up by the President for the decongesting of the prisons.
Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, the Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, who also responded to some of the questions, earlier in his opening remarks alleged that the opposition NDC had used the oil deposits that had been discovered and were yet to be drilled as collateral for vehicles to campaign for power in the 2008 elections.
The minister said good governance, accountability and transparency exhibited during the seven and a half year rule of the NPP government and the good faith kept by it with the people were enough for the people to retain the NPP in power.
He said the NPP government wanted to ensure that every nook and cranny of the country had a fair share of the national cake to speedy up development and that was why the President deemed it fit to create new districts and elevate existing ones to municipal and metropolitan status.
Other dignitaries who took turns to answer some of the questions were Prof Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, the Minister of Harbours and Railways; the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, and the Techiman Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Prince Yaw Donyinah.
The function was chaired by Nana Appenteng Fosu Gyeabour II, the Bamuhene of the Techiman Traditional Area and Hausuahene, who represented the Omanhene of the Techiman Traditional Area, Oseedeayo Akumfi Ameyaw IV. He appealed to the government to assist the traditional council to complete the construction of the Techiman Police Barracks project.