Confusion rocked a meeting organised by the Brong Ahafo Regional branch of the National Youth Authority (NYA) to resolve the impasse between the authority and 300 young people who were recruited to undergo a Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship Programme in the region.
The meeting, which was organised last Wednesday by the NYA, was attended by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the authority, Mr Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri, and was aimed at addressing allegations the trainees had made against the authority.
Among the allegations were changes to the conditions of the training programme in the region, non-payment of their travelling and feeding allowances and the failure of the authority to supply them with laptops as was promised prior to the training.
They were also seeking to know the kind of contract they will receive from Ecobank Ghana Limited after they complete their training as the authority had assured them.
The trainees threatened to hit the street and demonstrate against the NYA if by Wednesday, April 18, 2018 their benefits and what they said was their “right,” were not fulfilled.
They claimed they did not understand why they should be brought down from their various districts for training and not be fed as arranged.
It took Mr Asigri more than an hour to explain to the irate trainees what the training programme entailed. The bottom line, he said, was that the government initiated the programme as part of measures to reduce the level of unemployment in the country.
In spite of his explanations and documentary proof regarding conditions covering the training programme, the trainees were not satisfied and vowed to fight for the right things to be done.
Tempers flew high in the course of an open forum as both trainees and the authority did not understand each other’s views.
The trainees maintained that the NYA owed them money and unfulfilled promises and reiterated their threat to stage a demonstration.
The Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship Programme is an ongoing nationwide training schedule that was launched in Accra and targeted at training 3,000 unemployed young people to give them an opportunity to secure jobs.
At the end of their training, they are expected to be equipped with requisite technology-driven entrepreneurial skills which will help them to use the Internet, especially social media, to market products and services and also start virtual offices.
A convener for the participants, Mr Abubakari S. Napaati, told the Daily Graphic that in the President’s State of the Nation address, he announced that expenses that were fundamental to the three-month long training would be paid and so the youth did not understand why they had not been paid their travel and feeding allowances and given their laptops.
“Why are conditions for trainees in other regions different from ours. In other regions, trainees are fed and given their travel allowances,” he said.
Mr Asigri, however, refuted the allegations levelled against the authority by the trainees. He emphasised that the feeding allowance and other demands the trainees were agitating for were not part of the conditions for their engagement.
“What the authority decided on was to give each participant GH¢10.00 per day and this took effect from Monday, March 12, 2018,” he explained.
He added that the authority had released funds for the settlement of arrears regarding the daily stipend and that the laptops to be provided were meant for the programme centres and not for the participants.
He assured the trainees that they would be provided with tablets rather and that plans were far advanced to procure the items.
He expressed his worry nonetheless about the attitude of the trainees in the region and challenged them to go to court or go ahead and demonstrate against the authority.
Mr Asigri, who was visibly furious, said the trainees’ intended demonstration was unnecessary as it was born out of misinformation.