Statement: Probe GH¢8.7 billion overspending





The Joint Action Committee (JAC) has called on Ghanaians to join the fight to stop the “reckless” management of Ghana’s resources.

The group in a press statement is also calling for a full probe and enquiry in a number of areas, “as we believe they are fraught with fishy deals which constitute clear misappropriation of the Ghanaian taxpayers sweat and toil”

Below is the full statement
GH¢8.7 BILLION OVERSPENDING! JAC CALLS FOR PROBE.

Good morning!!
Ladies and gentle men of the press, we are glad that you have made time to cover our maiden press conference. We invited you here today to express our deepest disquiet about happenings!

It is common knowledge to all of that, this Government has overspent the 2012 budget by a whopping GH₵8.7billion. Ghanaians have also been shocked at the Ministry for Youth and Sports over spending its budget for 2012 by GH¢240 million. In addition to this, the John Mahama led government owes a whopping GH¢5.6 billion in arrears to the GETFund, District Assemblies Common Fund, NHIS, road contractors, amongst others.

The Joint Action Committee has noted the reckless expenditure that has taken hold of our government and the reckless nature with which it is misusing our resources. It is as a result of this that Ghana is gradually grinding to an economic halt. There is no water, ‘dumsor dumsor’, rising cost of living coupled with worsening conditions of the living of the Ghaianan.

Though the committee would not say it is surprised as the NDC government has been on a path of pure mismanagement of the Nation’s income since 2009, we are nonetheless scandalized by the levels of wastage witnessed, especially in 2012, which were all geared towards winning the 2012 General election. It is as if the NDC was very determined to run Ghana into the abyss just to secure itself a second term in office.

MAIN ISSUES
1. COLLAPSE OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMME

2.
Ghanaians recall that under the administration of President John Agyekum Kufuor, the NPP provided a better future for the youth through our economic, educational and social achievements. Reflecting the importance that the NPP government attached to job creation for the youth of Ghana, President Kufuor introduced the National Youth Employment Programme in 2004. The Programme, at the time the NPP left office was employing some 108,000 young people. Simply put, the NPP has created 108,000 new jobs for otherwise unemployed young people, giving them the opportunity to support themselves and get a start in the job market.

What we have seen happen under the National Democratic Congress government has been the total collapse of the otherwise important asset. The mismanagement of the NYEP has seen it overspend its 2012 budget by as much as GH¢200 million. Yet, last year we were told that The National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) secured about of $65 million from the World Bank to assist in implementing its modules. So despite the infusion of this huge amount of money by the World Bank, how come Ghanaians are now being told that the programme overspent its budget by some GH¢200 million?

The answer is simple: The NYEP has been fraught with the existence of ghost names, duplication of names of the NYEP payroll and the siphoning of monies from the accounts of the Programme. This is all that is left of this initiative implemented by the NPP.

This press conference by the JAC is set to expose the root cause of the woes of the NYEP

BETTER GHANA MANAGEMENT SERVICES
The Management of all the modules of the NYEP was given to the Better Ghana Services Limited. This company, most of you will not know is a subsidiary of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, and as the name suggests was established in 2010, during the Presidency of the late John Atta-Mills.

This new company, with no experience whatsoever in the project management was entrusted to manage the entire portfolio of the NYEP. Instead of assigning competent handlers of this project, this company has seen the eventual collapse of the NYEP, evident in its attendant overspending its budget by some GH¢200 million.

$50 Million for tree planting
This company supervised the awarding of a $50 million contract to ZOIL, another subsidiary of the Zoomlion Limited, to plant trees. Thus far, ZOIL was only able to account for 2,300 coconut trees it said it had planted to replace some coconut trees planted earlier but were lost due to the Cape St. Paul’s Wilt disease. This is what $50 million of tax payer’s money which was to be used for tree planting was used for.

GH¢20 million for Zeera Group
Information available to the Joint Action Forum is that a certain company by name Zeera Group is in partnership with government, with the mandate of patching up ‘potholes’ in the streets of the country as a means of creating jobs for the youth.

We are reliably informed that the government doled out some GH¢ 20million (200 billion cedis) to the Zeera Group to engage in road maintenance or pot hole filling in simple terms. Documents cited by the Joint Action Committee (JAC), indicates that government in 2012 released a colossal amount of GH¢20 million to Zeera Group despite the fact that government has no official contract with the Zeera Group for which such amounts ought to be released for whatever purpose.

Per our checks conducted around the country neither the Zeera group nor its assigns have conducted any pot hole filling not to talk about proper road maintenance. It is clear to us that the only thing the Zeera group did with the GH¢20 million allocated it in 2012 was to use them on Television advertisements which is completely at variance with why those monies were given them.

Even more mind boggling is why government would release such colossal amounts to a private group which has shown little or no experience in the area of road maintenance though there exists the Department of Feeder Roads and Urban Roads Department which have the requisite experience but have been denied the necessary funds to carry out their core mandates.

Interestingly, it was ventures like this that led the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Authority (GYEEDA) to overspend its budget by over 200 million Ghana cedis in 2012. Zeera claims to have employed 10,000 young men. Where are these employees, one may ask?

We are asking government, to as a matter of urgency, publish the list of the roads Zeera claims to have filled potholes on, that is if indeed it has carried out any such work.

LESDEP
This government claims to have created LESDEP to enhance the skills and entrepreneurial development of the youth, aimed at creating gainful employment for the youth. LESDEP in 2012 alone received a whopping GH¢84 million aimed at training the youth in barbering, hair dressing, dress making, amongst others.

In listing the areas where jobs have been created, the NDC’s Green Book added NYEP (National Youth Employment Programme) and LESDEP (Local Enterprises and Skills Development Programme). It listed the number of people engaged under LESDEP as 10,000 and 100,000 people employed under NYEP.

The LESDEP situation defies logic and it is a huge scandal in the brewing. LESDEP is also run by the company that has stood up boldly to undertake corruption-ridden jobs-for-the-boys schemes for the ruling party, Zoomlion.

Whilst school administrators were complaining that they were yet to receive any capitation grant or secondary school subsidies for the second term, the Ministry of Finance had readily released GH¢84 million (not GHC60m) for LESDEP.

This translates into more than GH¢8,000 for each of the 10,000 listed under LESDEP. Now, here is the scandal: when you look at the kind of people who ordinarily sign up for LESDEP, GH¢1,000 may even take them pretty far as capital for their small scale enterprises. But, not even GHC2,000 of this GHC8,000 per head would go to them, individually. So where is the money going? Could this GHC84 million, if properly applied, not create 6 times as many jobs?

Ghanaians want to find out where these youth who have received such training are because the levels of unemployment keeps spiraling by the day.

ASONGTABA COTTAGE INDUSTRIES
The Asongtaba Cottage Industries has also been in the news for the GH¢15 million guinea fowl project as well as the GH¢33 million afforestation project. In line with calls by the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, has initiated preliminary microscopic investigations into operations of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), of which the above mentioned projects are a part off.

An investigation is necessary to ensure that SADA does not become as one of the failed projects that had been initiated in the past to help reduce poverty in the North and bridge the gap between the northern and southern parts of the country.

Conclusion
The Joint Action Committee will like to take this opportunity to joins call on Ghanaians to join the fight to stop the reckless management of our resources. We are calling for a full probe and enquiry all the areas mentioned above, as we believe they are fraught with fishy deals which constitute clear misappropriation of the Ghanaian taxpayers sweat and toil.


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