Government will soon review a sub-contracted youth employment and capacity building initiative that made the headlines in 2014 for allegedly paying beneficiaries a paltry monthly fee.
The purpose of the review, according to the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) will be to assess whether is delivering on its mandate.
The Youth in Sanitation Module was signed between the erstwhile Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) and sanitation giant, Zoomlion Ghana, in 2011 to address youth employment challenges.
Under the contract terms, Zoomlion Ghana is charged with the responsibility of equipping the youth who are engaged by the module with the appropriate equipment and working gear to undertake the sweeping of the ceremonial and major streets and cities as well as the de-silting of drains.
The government does the recruitment of the workers, pays their allowances through Zoomlion on quarterly basis and pays the company for the management service.
Currently, at least 40,000 workers have been engaged nationwide, according to figures on the website of Zoomlion Ghana.
However, a Joy News investigation revealed that out of a stipulated GHȻ500 to be paid to Zoomlion per beneficiary engaged in the module per month, only GHȻ100 was received by a beneficiary, prompting criticisms that the disparity between the fee the contractor received from the government and what it paid to the beneficiary was too big.
There were calls for the cancellation of the contract following the exposé, however, that did not happen.
When the new Board Chair of YEA – which has replaced the GYEEDA – spoke on current affairs programme, Upfront, on the Joy News channel (MultiTV) on Wednesday, he said although Zoomlion still keeps about 80% of what it takes from government to employ the youth, there is not much that can be done now.
Sammy Awuku said a new Act guiding the administration of the YEA makes provision for the review of contracts after two years. The last Zoomlion contract was renewed in 2015 by the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, he revealed.
“What I can assure you is that the NPP [New Patriotic Party] government will take a critical look at this sanitation module going forward,” Sammy Awuku told the host of Upfront, Malik Abass Daabu.
He said the concern over the difference in what Zoomlion takes from government and is paid beneficiaries of the module has come up at the board level of YEA, promising that “just as we have taken some bold decisions within the past few weeks, expect us to take some very bold decisions.”
For a start, he said when the contract ends later this year, Zoomlion will have to “prove to us why this contract must be renewed.”