General News of Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Source: Joy FM

GYEEDA's road maintenance programme struggling

The Zeera Group of companies, operators of the road maintenance module of Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), is struggling to get road contracts to help employ the youth.

This was made known after officials of Zeera engaged a cross-section of the media on a tour of some of its road projects.

Under the road maintenance module of GYEEDA,unemployed youths are to be engaged to regularly fill pot-holes, weed bushy road shoulders and fix broken road signs on roads across the country.

This is meant to improve vehicular movements and reduce road crashes.

Since it was launched in September 2010 at a colourful ceremony in Accra, the public-private partnership between the GYEEDA and Zeera Group of Companies has been facing stiff competition for contracts.

Under the present arrangement, the Ghana Highways Authority and the Departments of Urban Roads and Feeder Roads, allocate roads ripe for routine maintenance and permit the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to award contracts to any of the private road maintenance companies.

There are currently about 33 other private road maintenance companies in Ghana among which Zeera is the sole company having to use unemployed youths under GYEEDA.

Yet barely three years into their operations, officials of Zeera are worried that they are unable to provide more employment opportunities to youths.

They also do not receive any form of positive discrimination from government to help expand the program.

Mr. Awal Mohammed, National Coordinator in charge of Operations at Zeera also said that delay in the disbursement of funds from government is hampering their operations.

He however expressed optimism that these concerns would be addressed soon because the current ministers with oversight responsibility over the issue have demonstrated a commitment to see to the resolution of issues.

Zeera has announced that the road maintenance module's operations has been extended to Greater Accra Region after carrying out works in nine other regions.

They are currently executing maintenance works at "Redco", a suburb within the Abokobi-Madina municipality where they have engaged some youths within the community.