Ghana: GYEEDA Must Die – Afrikanus Kofi Akosah


When politicians enact job-creation schemes, it gives them a plausible case that they are doing something about a real problem that everyone is aware of and wants to mitigate. The Ghana Youth Employment & Entrepreneurship Development Authority (GYEEDA) is Ghana's version.

As with other government programs in Ghana and elsewhere, this one is wracked by scandal and corruption that forces us to question the wisdom and efficacy of using politicians as physicians for the economy. Since the Social Democratic government of President John Dramani Mahama was elected on an anti-corruption platform, it is also a test of the administration's resolve at following through on its commitment.

Formerly known as National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), it is the brainchild of former President John Agyekum Kuffuor, recently re-christened with the updated name under the current government. It is extraordinary how clever when politicians are when it comes to naming their agencies.

I consciously remember being told I was anti-youth and anti-development by my colleagues in the media for speaking out against it. I was called out as a political activist for referring to it as a social engineering project that is not sustainable. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money, and was bound to fail miserably when it was introduced in 2006. Seven years down the lane, I expect that most honest observers will now agree.

I was not surprised when Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure’s investigative reports unraveled the sordid details of graft, cronyism, and unprofessional conduct that have riddled the state-driven job creation scheme. The report exposed profound financial malfeasance that is typical of government programs. 

The President and his cohorts should bow their heads in shame for presiding over a system where GHC. 580 is transferred from the State to Zoomlion Company LTD per beneficiary on a monthly basis to collect waste, but only spends GHC. 100, keeping GHC. 480 of it. It is notable that Zoomlion Company LTD has been banned from bidding for any World Bank project because it was found guilty of procurement bribery in the West African State of Liberia last month.

In an appalling revelation, investigators discovered that, in some districts, even equipment for waste management was not supplied and waste-disposal workers had to collect waste with their bare hands. In addition, they were going for months without being paid.

In another instance, AGAMS Group, an ICT and Agricultural Company, was paid to train 30,000 youth in ICT, with all financial obligations due to the company being fulfilled in 2012. The number actually trained was only 4,222,


When contracts are awarded by unaccountable political appointees, based on unsolicited, uncompetitive proposals, graft bound to be rampant.  Duplication and ghost names on government payroll provided taxpayer-funded wealth-creation programs for managers, the contemporary modus operandi of Ghanaian bureaucrats.

What irks me most is that some private companies and banks teamed up with these government officials to dupe taxpayers. Most of these officials in charge of the scheme do not have the requisite qualifications to manage it. At least one of them was found to be using a fake certificate of qualification. Criminals indeed! At the heart of this damning scandal are big wigs from the ruling Social Democratic National Democratic Congress (NDC).

A very peculiar observable fact in Ghana these days is that the authorities set up special committees to investigate corruption scandals whenever one rears its ugly head, as if there are no institutions to deal with that. It came as no surprise when the President instituted a four member Ministerial committee to delve into the press revelations.

Though the Ministerial Committee’s findings corroborated almost all the media disclosures, instead of calling a halt to the program, it recommended more government action and involvement in the job generation scheme. The government swiftly followed it with an Action Plan that was pregnant with central planning, one that will surely exacerbate the situation and lead to more of the same.

The political culture, already steeped in corruption and cronyism, is bound to get worse . Recommending that The Ministry of Youth and Sports present a bill to Parliament within four months to address the issue clearly means this plundering is going to be legalized.   If it passes, it will simply be a further demonstration of Ghana’s intellectually bankrupt parliament.

The World Bank estimates Ghanaian Youths unemployment at 65%. Two hundred and fifty thousand youth join the unemployed bandwagon on an annual basis, as estimated by the Ghana Trade Union Congress (TUC).

These statistics are frightening, but the government schemes, which merely reward political allies and cronies, which are political cows for political activists and their business collaborators to milk, are not the way to change the reality.

One of the economic pillars of former President John Agyekum Kuffour’s administration was the One Stop Business Shop which metamorphosed into lip service at the finest. President John Mahama is rattling the same mantra like a parrot.

There is, obviously, no political willingness to promote a conducive business environment. All they have are empty promises to catch the vote and, wretchedly, it is becoming a vicious element in our body politic.

Simplifying business procedures would create more sustainable jobs than the government scams of an employment scheme. The free lunch given to a few politicians via GYEEDA could have been channeled into establishing a One Stop Business Shop. The Economy would dash along and create wealth for everyone.

Only Economic Freedom maximizes employment through entrepreneurs solving real problems of society. It is insane to note that it takes 16 procedures in 216 days, and 481.2% of income per capita, to get a permit to build a commercial building. Entrepreneurship is the answer for job creation, yet entrepreneurship is being blocked by the very politicians who say they promote it. What is the essence of our decentralization if we can’t register business in our district assemblies?

 Within less than a year of taking office, this administration has introduced at least 5 major taxes, the most ridiculous one among them is the Condom Tax, while the most counterproductive is the Private University Levy. The burdensome tax regime penalizes real employment.

Ghana's post-independence Economic-History is littered with the abysmal fiasco of State Enterprises. The waste of resources with the Bodwease Starch Factory established under the Presidential Special Initiative by a president who professed to be a Free Market aficionado should be a guide.

If the President sweeps this present criminal act under the carpet, like many other corruption scandals that have rock this country in recent times, It will be a further blow to the well-being of Ghanaians. Let's see what happens now, since the controversial Economic and Organised Crime Organisation (EOCO) on Wednesday picked up twelve people for questioning all these while.

Ghanaians are keenly watching to see what will happen to those who were indicted in the GYEEDA report. For the sake of the many Ghanaians living below the poverty line, GYEEDA must be rolled into a beer bottle, tightly corked and thrown into the Atlantic Ocean.

Political Nonsense! Give us a break!

Kofi goes hard on GYEEDA