Some young people in the Youth in Afforestation programme, have expressed disappointment with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for sidelining them in their manifestos ahead of the December elections.
They do not understand why the two dominant parties failed to capture the afforestation programme in their 2020 manifestos but rather prioritised the Nation Builder’s Corps (NaBCo).
In a press statement, the YIA beneficiaries noted that they have been treated unfairly since the inception of the initiative, even though they work “tirelessly to make Ghana’s forest large”.
Despite their efforts, they complained that “we get no attention from the government.”
“We have suffered deduction of allowances, irregular payment schedules, lack of attention from this government and it seems our cry has still not been heard”, the youth noted, adding: “Our plight is simple; we only plead to be recognised just as NaBCo trainees and an increase in allowance and permanent work just as NaBCo trainees. The NaBCo programme was one of the reasons our then-CEO slashed our allowances.”
“We say permanent jobs now and a fair level of remuneration,” the statement emphasised.
“Lastly, we want to know whether our programme is continuous or will be short-lived as rumours have it,” the statement said.
YIA was introduced by President Akufo-Addo in 2018, where young men and women across the country, were recruited to help manage the country’s forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
The programme is in line with the NPP’s 2016 manifesto commitment of reforestation, forest rehabilitation and forest protection activities.
YIA work under the Forestry Commission
Read the full statement below:
YOUTH IN AFFORESTATION NEED ANSWERS WHY THEY ARE NOT OR RECOGNISED IN BOTH NPP AND NDC MANIFESTOES, AND INSISTS ON EQUAL TREATMENT ON THEIR JOB JUST AS TO NATION BUILDERS CORPS (NABCo)
The Youth in Afforestation (YIA) have passed through hell since this program was brought into existence by the Government of Ghana. Since the era of the late Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), the former CEO, Youth in Afforestation have not been treated fairly. We have worked tirelessly to make Ghana’s forest large yet we get no attention from the government. We have suffered deduction of allowances, irregular payment schedules, lack of attention from this government and it seems our cry has still not been heard.
The latest to break the camel’s back, unfortunately, is the presentation of manifestoes by the sitting government who only recognize their success story but didn’t remember the YIA in their next four-year plan, that is if they’re being voted into power. The two giant parties, ie: New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress made promises on how better they would make NABCo if elected without coughing about Youth in Afforestation. We, therefore, want to ask if beneficiaries of the YIA are not nationals of this country or do not deserve anything better after this election.
The beneficiaries of the program are over 40,000 people, therefore Beneficiaries of the program want to remind leadership from both NPP and NDC that they equally have qualifications to have been part of NABCo, but we believe the pieces together make a whole.
Also, our brothers and sisters who unfortunately do not have a high-level certificate ie; Degree, HND, or Diploma for no fault of theirs who are also part of the YIA, also form part of this nation and are making an impact on nation-building.
We unequivocally call on the current President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akofo-Addo and His Excellency the former President, John Dramani Mahama to make hay whiles the sun shines, for Youth in Afforestation and their job also builds the nation, and hence we deserve to also live with dignity and respect as the youth of this country.
Our plight is simple, we only plead to be recognized just as Nabco trainees and an increment in allowance just and permanent work just as Nabco trainees. The Nabco program was one of the reasons our then CEO slashed our allowances.
Lastly, we want to know whether our program is continuous or will be short-lived as rumours have it.
We say “permanent jobs now and a fair level of remuneration” Thank you all.