President John Dramani Mahama has issued a directive, pulling the plugs on attempts by the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) to invite new bids for new ICT modules from service providers.
The directive came a day after the Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West constituency, Kwaku Kwarteng, raised concerns over an advertisement inviting new bids in apparent contravention of earlier orders given by the President to put GYEEDA operations on hold.
President Mahama had ordered the capping of GYEEDA for a restructuring following a series of scandals bordering on misappropriation of funds and shady dealings involving millions of Ghana cedis.
This prompted a terse statement issued on Thursday under the hand of Information and Media Relations Minister Mahama Ayariga, thus: ‘The Office of the President has reiterated that all directives on GYEEDA remain in force.’
The statement was prompted by the vigilance and intervention of the MP for Obuasi West and other concerned Ghanaians, stopping a situation which would have saddled the country with yet another controversy about the infamous GYEEDA scandal.
It emphasized that ‘the request for proposals to implement an ICT model presently being advertised by GYEEDA is therefore without authorization and should be withdrawn.’
The President had since directed the Acting Executive Director of GYEEDA, Kobby Acheampong, ‘to expedite action on the reforms contained in the initial Presidential directives on GYEEDA to pave the way for implementation of modules that would create job opportunities for the youth.’
This was what raised eyebrows among analysts and social commentators, with some saying the statement was being used to cover up a deliberate attempt to pull a fast one on Ghanaians.
These concerns were in view of earlier claims by government to be restructuring the programme.
Even before a report of the supposed restructuring would be made public, officials of the GYEEDA – which is now headed by former Deputy Minister of Interior, Kobby Acheampong – had issued adverts for bids for a new ICT module.
This compelled Kwaku Kwarteng to ask: ‘Why is government seeking to rush ahead with the programme without first fixing the weaknesses that enabled the wrongs of GYEEDA to happen unchecked?’
For him, there was no justification for it, as he said, ‘It is very obvious that government officials are rushing the new modules and seeking new service providers because doing so creates room for misappropriating public funds in the name of the programme.’
He therefore did not find any other believable explanation for what he described as ‘this unhealthy determination to so quickly rush through new GYEEDA modules or engage new service providers when there have not been correction of the institutional weaknesses that permitted the wanton corruption of public funds.’
For this reason, he said ‘government must freeze these GYEEDA modules and rather focus on reforming the operation of GYEEDA.’
He subsequently tasked government to propose the needed changes to Parliament and get a customised and appropriate legal framework spelling out the dos and don’ts of the programme before engaging any new service providers or running any modules for the GYEEDA programme.
This sudden u-turn by government therefore comes as a relief to the MP and others who raised issues with the latest decision to advertise for bids for an entirely new ICT module.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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