Parliament has passed the new Youth Employment Agency bill, formerly known as Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).
The bill was passed by a voice vote by legislators in Parliament on Tuesday.
Shortly before the Speaker put the third reading of the bill to a vote, Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu stood up to stop the planned passage of the proposed legislation.
But the Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho reminded the Suame Member of Parliament (MP) that it was impossible for him [Osei Kyei] to stop the motion to approve the bill, much less have the bill go through a second consideration stage.
The Speaker added that the motion had earlier been moved by the Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu and it was seconded by Wa West MP, Joseph Yileh Chireh.
Although the Speaker granted audience to the Minority leader to state his concerns, the bill was passed nonetheless.
The President, John Mahama is expected to sign the Act into law.
According to Article 106(7) of the 1992 constitution, “where a bill passed by Parliament is presented to the President for assent, he shall signify within seven days after the presentation to the Speaker that he assents to the Bill or that he refuses to assent to the bill unless the bill has been referred by the President to the Council of State under article 90 of this constitution.”
This means that the President must within seven days give his approval or otherwise to the newly passed GYEEDA bill.
The new GYEEDA, according to Haruna Iddrisu is expected to create employment for about 100,000 to Ghanaian youth.
The GYEEDA Bill was placed before Parliament after the Agency was hit by a series of embezzlement scandals.
President Mahama therefore ordered a complete restructuring of the Agency which had been introduced to reduce youth unemployment in Ghana.
The bill however faced stiff opposition from the Minority and some anti-corruption campaigners who were insisting that the bill should be thrown out until all monies wrongfully paid to individuals and institutions under GYEEDA are retrieved and indicted persons prosecuted.
Why new bill is a bad idea
An anti-corruption crusader, Sydney Casley Hayford earlier raised concerns over government’s decision to restructure the GYEEDA programme.
“…when we have a parliament that is considering a reconstitution of the GYEEDA law to try and bring the GYEEDA programme back in place, I ask myself whether we seriously have parliamentarians who understand what their duties are,” he said on the Big Issue on Citi FM.
He questioned “what happened to the 55,000 youth who were supposed to be trained under different modules in GYEEDA… ”
“We took money and we taught university graduates how to fill potholes…”
Casley Hayford further described the decision to introduce the programme in the first place as “the biggest mistake” ever made under the New Patriotic Party(NPP) administration.
“I blame the NPP for introducing such a programme. It was wrong, it is wrong and will ever be wrong…,”he stated.
Sydney Casley Hayford remarked that government lost about “1.6 billion” to the programme, adding that it [government] would not have incurred such a loss if the public procurement act was adhered to.