More than 300 beneficiaries of the Youth in Afforestation have travelled from across the country to Accra to chase the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, for their monthly allowances.The frustrated beneficiaries who have a two-year contract with the government through the Forestry Commission said they have for the last eight months not been paid the monthly allowance of 700 cedis.
They told journalists that several efforts to get their allowances paid by the Forestry Commission have not yielded results.
They claimed there is currently a bad blood between Mr Ofori-Atta and the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, because of issues surrounding the outstanding allowances.
They have rejected a supposed claim by the Finance Minister that they do not deserve payment of any allowance. According to them, they have duly performed their part of the contract they signed with government, claiming some of the trees they planted are now blossoming.
They did not understand why NABCo personnel have been paid all their outstanding allowances while those under the Youth in Afforestation, which is government’s foremost job intervention programme, remains unpaid.
The aggrieved beneficiaries want an end to the model if government cannot pay them.
Clad in read and black, the beneficiaries besieged the Ministry of Finance Monday morning but were initially prevented from entry the premises though they claim to have informed the Ministry of their coming.
After waiting for some minutes, two of their leaders were allowed entry into the premises ostensibly to meet with officials of the Ministry.
“We want to tell the President that 2020 is just around the corner. Some of us are polling station officers while others are grassroots members who are working for the party seriously knowing that it will be difficult for us when the party goes to opposition,” one of them said.
Another person who spoke on condition of anonymity also said “Government hasn’t been fair with us”.