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General News of Friday, 15 March 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Youth in Afforestation beneficiaries to demonstrate over unpaid allowances

Some beneficiaries of the Youth in Afforestation program are threatening to demonstrate on March 21 if managers of the program fail to settle their five months unpaid allowance.

This follows their alleged disengagement from the scheme for registering for the Nations Builders Corps (NaBCo).

According to them, the management of Youth in Afforestation asked them to resign from NaBCo in order to earn their unpaid five months allowance.

But, upon their resignation, managers of Youth in Afforestation served them notice of their disengagement from the program, an action they believe is unfair to them.

In an interview with Citi News, some of the beneficiaries demanded full payment of their allowance and their re-engagement.

We are pleading with the Forestry Commission, they should please re-engage us and pay us our money.

If they don’t we will spoil that day with a massive demonstration. If that fails too, we will take legal actions.

“The Deputy CEO told us to go for resignation letters from NaBCo and brint it to Forestry Commission for them to know that we are no longer part of the NaBCo system. We have that and the evidence is here. We have the resignation letter and we have sent it to them. Last week, the Deputy CEO told us that although we have brought the letters, we have been taken off the system. They have not treated us fairly”, another said.

This is not the first time beneficiaries of the program have threatened to protest against the management of the program.

Last year, some of them in the Eastern Region threatened to embark on series of demonstrations over the non-payment of allowances and poor working conditions.

Prior to that, several others in the Greater Accra and other areas had also protested the non-payment of allowances.

Be patient, we’ll pay you – Sir John tells Youth in Afforestation

At the time, Chief Executive Officer of the National Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, called on beneficiaries of the government’s Youth in Afforestation Program to exercise patience.

With several assurances, he said his outfit is aware of the delay in the payment of allowances but is working to have the monies paid as soon as possible.

Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, in a Citi News interview, said some of the beneficiaries have enrolled on other government youth intervention programs and may be receiving double allowances, and so his outfit has expunged their names from the Commission’s register.

He said beneficiaries with the right records have been paid up to July, and his outfit is working hard to get funds to pay the August and September allowances.

“There are some of them who have enrolled on other programs and our records have captured their names as being on two or several platforms and therefore we have also expunged their names from our records. So there are several cogent reasons why some of them may not have received their allowances, but to the broader majority of the people whose records are okay, we have paid everybody up to July."

"Now I’m looking for August and September allowances to pay so they should exercise patience and if they check their e-zwich account, they will know that they have been paid; not because of their demonstration, but because it is right that we pay them.”