Politics

We’ve become  leaders in employment promotion-YEA Boss

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Kofi Baah Agyepong, Chief Executive Officer of Youth Employment Agency has made it clear that over the last years with particular emphasis on the last one year, the Youth Employment Agency has been wild awake, creating impactful jobs for the youth.

According to him the agency has also been at the forefront supporting businesses to expand and employ more people.

“Through our partnership with relevant state agencies we have also been training the youth with skills capable of putting them in an entrepreneurship pathway.

Through our Job Centre, we have become a leader in employment promotion by connecting job seekers directly to companies.”He made this known in a press conference held yesterday in Kumasi.

HE Said,”despite the admitted global economic challenges, we have been working hard to reduce the rate of unemployment and lessen the burdens of life on young people whiles affording them the opportunity to make ends meet.

In 2022/2023, the government of Ghana through YEA recruited:
15,000 Community Protection Assistants working with the Ghana Police Service.

6,000 Community Health Workers working with the Ghana Health Service,
1,500 Prison Office Assistants working with the Ghana Prisons Service,
4,000 workers on the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.

5,000 Insurance Agents for the National Insurance Commission with base pay.
13,000 direct jobs secured through the YEA Job Centre 2,000 dressmaking trainees undergoing apprenticeship training with GHC500 monthly support.

Over 30,000 entrepreneurs trained by both the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) and the Ghana Library Board with support for set-ups, 2,000 young people trained by the Accra Digital Centre in Basic and Advanced IT skills.

Currently, YEA is recruiting another 20,000 young people to be trained and set up in 10 different trade areas being – carpentry, masonry, plumbing, hairdressing, beauty care, auto works, General Electricals, Plaster of Paris (POP), Steel Works, Welding and Fabrication and Painting.

All arrangements have been made for training to start next week.

45,000 Sanitation Module beneficiaries
financial support to over 500 dress makers and 4o large garment companies under well attended Apparel and Textile Programme which was heavily launched at the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi.

In all, I am proud and glad to announce that Ashanti Region has been the biggest beneficiary of all these recruitments and modules.

Here is the data of the number of young people recruited from Ashanti Region alone in all these programmes. These are accessible and verifiable data that each and every one of you would be furnished with for your own checks.

Community Protection Assistants (CPAs) – 2,782
Community Health Workers (CHWs) – 1,481 Prison Office Assistants (POAs) – 157 Sanitation Module – 7,274
1,250 Insurance Agents with the National Insurance Commission
3,000 direct jobs through the YEA Job Centre 423 trainees under the Textiles and Garments/Dress-making programme
250 masons to be trained in Brick construction works fully funded by YEA with monthly stipends (A special programme for Ashanti Region alone under the Youth In Modern Building Technology programme)
Textiles and Garment Companies – 154 (About 149 small and medium scale and 5 large garment companies)

Well known Textile and Garment companies such as Unijay Fashion, Akaal Skill Development Academy located at Kwamo, Biob Luxuries Ltd located at Adum, Lydia Oppong Fashion Center located at Kentikrono and Amansan Skills Training Institute at Atonsu Agogo all received a little of GHS 92,000 support and the support funds have fully been released to them.

The small and medium textiles and garment companies are many but I will mention a few: JulyJu Collections, Fashion Immaculate De Danny Boy, Stiger Collections, Papa Wisdom Fashion and Training Center, Hour of Grace Fashions, Francis Agyemang Fashion Designs, Laurie’s Klodin, Allah Power Fashion Center, Tutu’s Fashion, Clean Stitch Design and many more, all in Ashanti Region.

So last one year, YEA has created 16,617 jobs in Ashanti Region alone.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, I have respectfully taken time to enumerate all these for you to appreciate what we have done so far and what we are capable of doing. We are definitely not an Agency that is promising and not delivering. With all humility, we have an impeccable record of delivering on our mandate and the results are right before you. We do appreciate there is room for more and we working hard to achieve just that.

BUSINESS AND EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (BEAP)
Now to the Business and Employment Assistance Programme (BEAP), the new kid on the block and the main reason why we are here today.

The lingering question is what exactly is the Business and Employment Assistance Programme about? What problem does it seek to resolve?

How sustainable is it? And how can our unemployed youth benefit from it?
BEAP is a programme designed to provide salary support of GHS 5OO per every employee recruited by a Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) whiles the employer tops up the salary for the employee. This is solely targeted at the private sector.

By MSMEs, we simply mean the chop bars, milling centres (Nika Nika), chemical shops or drug stores, food joints, schools, trading enterprises, mini supermarkets, baking shops, barbering shops, hairdressing & beauty salons, micro production companies, and any other shop or business set up that needs employee support or workers to assist their work.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the idea of BEAP was cultivated after a careful review of a survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service in 2020. The report of the survey showed that 46% of firms were forced by the treacherous hands of COVID-19 to reduce employee wages during the thick of the pandemic.

The effect of this was a big blow to families when standards of living for over 770,000 workers in the country were drastically reduced. How much even were people’s salaries to talk of being reduced?

Sadly, ladies and gentlemen of the media, about 41,952 employees were sent home by their employers as various enterprises struggled to keep themselves in business.

We are all living testimonies to the wrecking hardships many hard working Ghanaians and their families suffered. The case of small and medium scale businesses was even worse, as about 16% of these enterprises were permanently shut down with a few struggling to resurrect.

Today, lots of these start-ups need urgent and real help to employ more hands to support their work. There is enough evidence that cost of labour and its accompanying statutory requirements and compliance such as taxes and social security at the early stages of business are too much of a burden for micro and medium scale enterprises.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have not come to this conclusion simply by reports. I have personally gone through the ordeal to check for myself what is happening at these micro firms and businesses.

I have made several calls and checks. I have visited lots of corners, joints, shops and entered the markets.

From Accra to Koforidua, Kumasi to Techiman to Sunyani to Tamale to Bolga and with various reports from Takoradi and Sefwi-Wiawso, many young folks are poorly remunerated and many cannot cross even half of the month with their monthly salaries.

In Sunyani I visited schools, chop bars, food joints, restaurants, Nika Nika Centres, pharmacies, insurance companies and on the average, workers were paid less than Ghc 500 a month. Yesterday, I spent almost my day visiting various shops.

I was at Suame Magazine to check for myself the employee needs of companies and salaries paid to workers. I visited Costino shop, Abumens Motors, Caesar Abass Motors, Heligyei, all in Suame Magazine.

I furthered my visits to Rexford Kwadwo Sefa Shoemaking in Ashtown, Ike’s Shoe Enterprise, Flexible Footwear and Designing Enterprise, Freeman Amoako Shoes, Anastic Royals all in Manhyia and I passed through Wenya Akpene Gifty Enterprise at Abrepo Junction. Though you may not love to know how much employees at these small enterprises receive, you can be rest assured they need help with both extra hands and salary support.

This is where BEAP comes in. This is where YEA says, Hire –YEA will pay!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, YEA is targeting to support about 10,000 companies with an average of 2 employees per company hence employing about 20,000 people in all. Beginning February 2024, we will be on boarding these 20,000 employees as beneficiaries of YEA who will be paid every month as long as our Monitoring and Evaluation team (M&E) certifies that they worked.

The recruitment of the 20,000 will not be the end of unemployment in Ghana but at least, we would have given hope to some y0ung people and would also have heavily reduced the growing unemployment rate.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, one key issue about this huge programme is funding and sustainability. Let me address it before you pull your trigger with bullet of questions at me.

YEA has a stable source of funding from the Communication Service Tax or what we usually refer to as Talk tax. As we sit here today, the taxes from the calls you make and the data you use all come to YEA to fund the Agency.

We have as management, put together a deliberate policy to direct the use of these funds solely to the creation of jobs, jobs and jobs for the youth of this country.

This is why as at today January 10th 2024, I can beat my chest and tell you confidently without fears that YEA owes none of our beneficiaries working under our traditional modules. We are up to date with all beneficiary payments and this can also be fact-checked.

My good friends in the media, this programme is of utmost importance to us and we greatly need your assistance to make it succeed.

This is why we took painstaking steps to obtain an executive approval from His Excellency the President and the Ministry of Finance before the programme was also successfully launched by His Execellency the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in Sunyani last year on the 11th December, 2023, In fact, we are even able to meet here today because the Ministry of Finance has started releasing funds to the Agency for the commencement of this programme. We at YEA are eternally grateful to the President and the Vice President of this republic for their immeasurable contribution to this programme. “He concluded.

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