Mr Mustapha Ussif, the Minister of Youth and Sports Designate, has denied media report connecting him to the bussing of people to register in the Yagaba Kubori Constituency during last year’s national identification registration exercise.A news report from an Accra-based media organisation, showed at the vetting of Mr Yussif, at the Parliament House, in Accra implicated the nominee, then boss of the National Service Scheme, for using buses of the Scheme to convey registrants from other parts of the country to the constituency.
However, Mr Yussif told the Appointments Committee, where he was vetted for the position of Minister of Youth any Sports, that he was not personally involved in the bussing of the registrants.
As a member of the then, and still ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Yussif was accused in the footage for using his directorship position to bus the registrants to the constituency, which the accusers equated to partisan political activity.
However, Mr Yussif told the Committee, sitting at the Parliament House, in Accra that he was not personally involved in the bussing of the registrants, and when he got to know that National Service buses were being used, he advised against it.
Mr Yussif, said buses acquired during the headship of Mr Vincent Koagbenu that stood idle were later arranged to be rented, and it was some of such buses that an association rented to send people to the constituency to register.
In the course of his explanation, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the Chairman of the Committee suggested no illegality in using rented buses for a national exercise, and asked, “Were they showing party cards? Not all.”
On a question on why the National Service Scheme, which was deemed to be less endowed than the Ghana Education Service (GES), donated 10 pickup vehicles to the Service, Mr Yussif explained that the idea was to forge collaboration to support school farms to produce more food for the Free SHS Policy.
Also, the National Service Act, Act 426, empowers the National Service Board to introduce new models into the scheme, the Minister-Designate said, adding that it was a practice of the Service to support other public service-oriented organizations, especially during the National Service Week celebrations.
On the recommendation by the Justice Dzamefe Committee to ban the airlifting of supporters with the taxpayers' money to support international tournaments, such as those in Egypt and Australia, the nominee said everywhere in the world, supporters were sent to give their moral support to their national teams.
However, since the practice is being queried in Ghana, the Minister Designate explained that there was the need to rebrand sports to attract sponsorship from corporate institutions.
Mr Yussif described himself as a “believer of engagement” and would engage other stakeholders on the need to charge realistic fees for watching sporting activities and adopt a cost-sharing formula to promote the private-public partnership to maintain the nation’s sports facilities.
He said the stadia can also be used for social programmes to get revenue and indicated that a Sports Development Fund was in the offing.
The Minister-designate called on stakeholders to come on board to improve Ghana’s performance in international football tournaments.
He said: “Our performance in international tournaments when it comes to football is something we have to look at as a country. What I have observed is that preparation for tournaments is done in the year of the tournament.
“If given the opportunity, I will engage the stakeholders like GFA and the National Sports Authority (NSA) to see how we can have a plan on these.
“As a country, we have to come together and see how best we can have a comprehensive short-term and medium-term plan for our national teams so that we can improve our ratings.”