The Forestry Commission (FC) has reviewed allowances of employees under the Youth in Afforestation Programme to align with allowances of employees under the Nation Builders Corps (NABCo) programme.
As a result, the commission, which was supposed to pay the beneficiaries under the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) GH¢1,200, had to review the allowances to GH¢700, GH¢600 and GH¢400 for supervisors, assistant supervisors and others respectively.
According to the FC, aligning the allowances to that of the NABCo would also enable it to engage more applicants to sustain the programme.
A letter dated September 11, 2018 and signed by the Director of Operations at the Commission, Mr Hugh C. A. Brown, has consequently directed all regional directors and district managers of the commission to revise the allowances of the beneficiaries effective October 1, 2018.
The Corporate Affairs and Media Relations Manager of the FC, Mrs Joyce Ofori Kwafo, explained that the commission signed a service agreement with the YEA to engage 15,000 youth under the two-year afforestation programme of which they received over 80,000 applications nationwide.
“Even though we had planned to employ 15,000, we decided to increase the number to about 22,000. If we decide to pay them the current rate, we would not be able sustain the programme for the two years so we decided to slash it down to ensure the sustainability of the programme,” she said.
The manager added that the commission wanted the rates to be at par with that of NABCo beneficiaries who would be paid GH¢700.
She said the decision had since been communicated to the employees through their respective directors and letters.
Mrs Kwafo, however, denied reports suggesting that the beneficiaries had not been paid their allowances for about three months.
According to her, those beneficiaries who had not received their allowances produced false documents while others were on other government social intervention programmes.
“From my checks as late as Tuesday with the Finance Department, they had been paid for the months of April, May and June and so we have two months in arrears.
We also discovered that there are about 292 cases of beneficiaries working in some other government institutions,” she said.
The manager further stated that “If you have registered and your biometric details are already in the system and you come to Forestry Commission to register under the YEA, and you expect to be paid, the system will flag it red because there is a duplication.”