NABCo recruits cry over stipends …But Minister asserts issue has been resolved

 

The much-touted government’s employment scheme, Nation Builders Corp (NABCo) has been hit with reports of non-payment of stipends to workers.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in October 2018 commissioned the passing out ceremony for 100,000 beneficiaries under various NABCo modules in October 2018 and the following month, about 44,000 applicants were placed to start work.

But, according to our impeccable sources, there have been delays in the payment of their GHC700 stipend paid to NABCo recruits.

For instance, two aggrieved NABCo recruits who could not hold their frustrations on Citi News in Accra at the weekend, which was monitored by Today, criticised the government for portraying NABCo as a smooth success.

One of them—who gave his name as Nana—said: “the management of NABCo has painted the picture as if NABCo is going on well and NABCo trainees have been paid, but nothing, no payment at all, so we are pleading with our leaders. They should please pay attention to NABCo.”

He also urged President Akufo-Addo to pay closer attention to what was happening with the scheme.

“If he [President Akufo-Addo] thinks everything is fine please it is not as fine as he is thinking or maybe he has been told. We have problems. There are problems,” Nana, who is a network engineer on the Digitise Ghana module, said.

Another recruit, who only gave his name as Isaac, who is on the enterprise module, highlighted the social cost of the non-payment of stipends.

Isaac, who studied industrial painting and sculpture, said he is married and a father of three and was unable to support his family.

Aside from not being paid, he said he was also unable to seek out a temporary job because of restrictions from NABCo’s terms of engagement.

“Once you have been engaged, on the engagement letter, you are asked not to do anything apart from NABCo.”

According to him, he has to rely on family members to survive with his three children.

“I have to sometimes go to my dad… sometimes I have to go to my mother. Sometimes my auntie. Coming here, I went to my aunty for [transport money]. I will only hope God will only open another window for me, meaning I will get another job outside and bow out quietly and respectfully out of NABCo,” he said.

Observers, during the commencement of the programme, expressed their misgivings, saying NABCo was not a sustainable way of tackling despite the government’s assertions.

Former Director of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr Nii Moi Thompson, for example, said only high economic growth would ensure the creation of sustainable jobs for Ghanaians.

“You cannot address the unemployment problem through government interventions like NABCo, it is simply not sustainable. It’s through high growth that you will be able to do that and yet we are moving away from that and are instead indulging in these projects,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government has stated that NABCo programme has completed resolutions towards the challenges it encountered with the processing of stipends for some 9,235 beneficiaries.

According to the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the difficulties encountered called for a halt in further processing of the payroll for the data sets to be corrected.

“Indeed, the NABCo Secretariat sent messages to beneficiaries to correct their data for it to be rekeyed into the system. The Secretariat informs us that 9,235 of them have now corrected their data and thus will be paid this week,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah told journalists in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, yesterday.

The beneficiaries December and regular stipends, the minister said, have also been programmed to be paid immediately afterwards.

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

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