A legal practitioner and former National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP, George Loh is concerned that recruitment into the Nation Builders’ Corps (NaBCo) will be open to abuse.
Whilst calling for clarity on how the Akufo-Addo Administration’s latest job creation initiative will be rolled out, Mr. Loh said he was worried about the fact some Members of Parliament and District Chief Executives may have a hand in the recruitment process onto the scheme.
Speaking on The Big Issue, he recalled that he had heard an MP saying “ I sat down with my DCE and we tried to find out those who are graduates and unemployed in my area.”
This is despite the fact that registration onto the scheme is meant to be via an online portal by the individual graduates.
“So if the MPs and the DCE’s are sitting down and deciding or trying to find out who are the graduates, it means that it [NaBCo] is open for abuse. It means they are not going to allow the process to run the way it must run,” Mr. Loh surmised.
A strong safeguard for the initiative would have been to back it with a Legislative Instrument (LI), the former MP suggested, because, in his view, “whenever you have a policy and there is no guidance from either a law or a document guiding it, it is open to abuse.”
His concerns were shared by a Vice President at IMANI Africa, Selorm Branttie.
Mr. Branttie said, “the selection criteria is a black box. Everybody can be recruited but how do we know who is being selected and is there a public board? Is there any metric by which people are being scored? For me, that is a very big issue.”
However, also on The Big Issue, the CEO of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), John Kumah, said there are active structures in place to catch persons who will engage in any form of abuse.
“There will be an auditor’s report. There is now the Special Prosecutor’s office. Where are you running away from that abuse if you do it? You do so at your own risk,” he assured.
On the question of legal backing, he retorted that the policy being the mandate of the Executive was a strong enough legal backbone for the policy.
“It is not every programme in this country that is backed by LIs. Then you would not do anything. When they [the NDC] set up YES [Youth Enterprise Support, now the NEIP], was there any LI? Yet they run it for the period they were in government. You don’t necessarily need LIs. You are a government with a legal mandate to operate and once the President comes to say I am doing [anything], it is backed by law. So it is kind of law you are looking at, whether it is an LI or an EI [Executive Instrument].”
About the Corps
President Nana Akufo-Addo launched the Nation Builders’ Corps scheme last Tuesday as an alternative job creation opportunity for the country’s jobless graduates.
The programme is expected to create 100,000 jobs in seven sectors of the economy including Health, Education, Agriculture and ICT. The beneficiaries who will receive a stipend of GHC700 will be engaged for three years.
The Nations Builders Corps will also provide every one of Ghana’s 216 districts with jobs for 462 graduates.
The programme, which will be managed by the office of the President, will focus on alleviating shortfalls in public service delivery.
NBC has a number of subsets which are connected to other major government targets and initiatives.
It will have a “Clean Ghana” Programme for sanitation, a “Heal Ghana” module for health, “Revenue Ghana” programme for tax collection, a “Teach Ghana” module for education and a “Feed Ghana” module for agriculture.