Barely a week ago, beneficiaries of the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) were declared ready for work by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo after they had successfully passed out at a ceremony held for that purpose at the Independence Square in Accra.
To all intents and purposes, NaBCo has been introduced to provide temporary employment for about 100,000 Ghanaian youth.
Modules under the programme include education, health, agriculture and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
NaBCo has come at a time when youth unemployment rates keep rising every year. Youth unemployment has been described by many as a ticking time bomb which appears to be perilously close to an explosion.
According to statistics, youth unemployment has been rising from 7.5 per cent since 1999 to 12 per cent currently, raising a lot of concerns among stakeholders and policy makers.
In the words of the President, the dreary story of youth unemployment had been a scar on the nation’s history, which had further been aggravated in recent times by the moratorium placed on public sector employment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
It is, therefore, a step in the right direction for the government to introduce an intervention programme such as NaBCo to create employment for the youth, at least in the interim.
However, since its introduction, there have been concerns from various quarters concerning its ability to live beyond this government, bringing its sustainability into question.
The lack of a legal framework backing NaBCo is a huge challenge, as far as its sustainability is concerned.
Indeed, government is a continuum, but in our part of the world where the winner-takes-it-all syndrome is so rife, such a policy may struggle to survive should power change hands.
The Mirror, therefore, supports the call for a legal backing for the programme to ensure that it lives beyond this government.
It is also the responsibility of the government to ensure that funds meant for the smooth running of the policy are not mismanaged, as we have seen in other cases, such as the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).
It is not enough for the trainees to be engaged in structured work and learning programmes while working as part of their exit plans after the three-year period.
Will they be fully engaged by industry simply because they have worked under the NaBCo programme after the period? What is the guarantee that they will be fully employed afterwards?
We believe these are serious matters that need to be addressed quickly so that there wouldn’t be another cycle of graduates returning home as unemployed after they exit NaBCo.
The Mirror also wants to advise the beneficiaries to put in their best and work hard for the good of the country.
The stipend may not be enough, but it is better than none at all.
NaBCo should be sustained and not be counted as one of the programmes that came but died a natural death.