Information Minister designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has shot down calls for a dedicated revenue channel for the Nation Builder’s Corps (NABCO) programme.
Government is investing several billions of cedis into the initiative for the 100,000 graduates engaged under the programme.
Some civil society organizations and others from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have said the initiative is not sustainable.
Others have also called for a dedicated source of funding to sustain the programme.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said the program will be funded on a similar module used to fund public sector salaries to sustain the initiative which promises to reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
“I’ve heard people suggest that we need to find a dedicated revenue channel for it. But my response to them is that if you look at many of our public service agencies, we don’t have dedicated revenue channels for paying for example the police or military or many of the other agencies because government is committed to taking care of them and on a month by month basis resources are made available. That same level of commitment is what is available on this programme and we expect to sustain it as such,” he added.
President Nana Akufo-Addo on Wednesday commissioned the about 100,000 beneficiaries of the NABCO program at a ceremony held at the Black Star Square in Accra.
The recruits will receive a monthly stipend of GHc700.
President Nana Akufo-Addo at the passing out ceremony admonished the recruits not to consider the GHc700 stipend as free money but should work hard to earn it.
“You must bear in mind that government is investing some GH¢3 billion cedis of taxpayers’ money into this programme. Your monthly GH¢700 is not free money and you must earn every pesewa of it which I’m confident you’ll do,” he said.
NABCO will succeed
Nana Akufo-Addo further hit back at critics who downplayed the impact of the NABCO initiative saying it will succeed.
“As has become the norm with every bold initiative proposed by this administration, this programme, predictably, was not only ridiculed in certain quarters, but also met with pessimistic and cynical comments with some going to the extent of urging graduates from our nations tertiary institutions not to register for the programme. In NABCO we have planted the seeds of growth and future of our country. I am in no doubt whatsoever that NABCO will succeed,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also said government will find other avenues to find jobs for the youth.
“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. It is a day when we begin the process of banishing the specter of desperation and restoring hope and dignity to our youth,” he added.
Trainee nurses, midwives kick against NABCO
The Ghana Nurses and Midwife Trainees Association, were dissappointed with government over the NABCO programme saying government should employ them permanently instead of recruiting them on NABCO.
In May, the Public Relations Officer of the Association, Akugri Gaddafi, stated on Eyewitness News that the remuneration package for nurses in the programme is unfair, suggesting that newly-employed certificate nurses earn about 1, 100 cedis, while diploma and degree nurses earn between 1, 600 cedis and 1, 800 cedis, all much higher than the 700 cedis persons employed under the scheme are set to earn.
NaBCo jobs not compulsory – Coordinator tells agitated nurses
The Coordinator of the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo), Dr. Ibrahim Anyass, explained that although there are openings for graduate nurses to be employed under the scheme, application for the jobs is not compulsory.
According to him, the project had been initiated by the government as a stopgap measure to allow graduates from tertiary institutions who had completed their mandatory year of National Service gain vital work experience while ensuring that they continue to practice the skills they have learnt.
He thus explained that that nurses who do not wish to be part of the scheme cannot be forced to apply.