Unknotting the unemployment conundrum remains one of the most difficult assignments of countries in both hemispheres.
In the developed countries, it remains a critical determinant of progress of governments, an element which the electorate consider when they go to the polls. Governments which fail to reduce the number of persons on the roll-call of the unemployed suffer the umbrage of the electorate at the polls.
Successive governments in Ghana have introduced various interventions to tackle this challenge, mostly with little to show for their efforts – a development which is attributable to multifaceted factors.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor regards the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) as his baby.
Today, the intervention has undergone various re-engineering modules including a re-branding by the incumbent political administration in response to changing circumstances such as increasing population inter alia.
Like other responses by governments to chronic socio-economic conundrums, the programme has suffered the usual challenges of implementation occasioned by contaminated commitment on the part of staff and even beneficiaries.
Rechristened and rebranded the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Development Agency (GYEEDA), it has not been spared media auditing, the outcome of which is a disturbing can of worms.
While it has not been able to live up to the expectation of both government and its beneficiaries, it remains a significant source of hope for the unemployed and without doubt unrivalled in its reach and sustainability.
In order not to allow it to stagnate or even atrophy with the passing days and in the face of suspected financial misdemeanour among others, the Hon. Minister for Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, recently inaugurated a ministerial impact assessment and review committee and charged it to tackle the prominent challenges of the outfit.
The terms of reference of the committee are unambiguous and the people of Ghana will not accept anything but success from the highly experienced persons appointed to assess and make remedial recommendations to government.
The empanelling of the committee is an appropriate response by government, especially the President, to the many public queries as mirrored by the media about the moral ailments in which the GYEEDA has been mired in the past few months. The action is a milestone worthy of a place in the catalogue of the President’s first 100 days at the helm.
The efforts of the committee will however be meaningless and useless if its outcome does not result in a major transformation of the lot of the Ghanaian unemployed youth.
In a country with a penchant for confining reports of important committees, such as the one under review, to the already dusty shelves of departments, we pray and hope that this one does not follow in the footsteps of the National Security investigation report on the same subject and the smelly Maputo scandal which were tucked somewhere in a dusty shelf with absolutely nothing being done about them.
Not doing anything about the recommendation of the committee is not an option at all, under the prevailing circumstances.
As for the new Youth and Sports Minister, the outcome of the committee’s work and a subsequent success of the GYEEDA will determine how far he has gone in the management of the unemployment challenge and above all, the stemming of the rot threatening the sustainability of the GYEEDA.
The President’s commitment for the success of the GYEEDA as epitomized by the empanelling of the committee will only be consummated when the recommendations thereof are implemented.