Implementation of NAELP non-negotiable

The government has launched the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme(NAELP), an initiative to provide employment opportunities for persons economically impacted by the fight against illegal mining in the country.

The programme has six operational modules, namely the Community Mining Scheme; Mine Support Service;National Land Reclamation and Re-afforestation; Agriculture and Agro-Processing; Apprenticeship, Skills Training; and Entrepreneurship and Community Enhancement.

It was launched at Tarkwa in the Western Region on Monday by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and its first two modules, the Community Mining Scheme and Mine Support Service initiatives alone, are expected to provide jobs for more than 220,000 people.

In Ghana and, for that matter, Africa, where the dependency ratio is very high, the joblessness of one person affects an unimaginable number of people the same way as one income earner caters for countless mouths.

This means 220,000 people securing jobs can have a multiplier effect of at least 800,000 people going to have some relief from hardships, granting that the worker is going to cater for three people, on the average, in addition to himself or herself.

In an era where unemployment is rising due to various factors, including unbridled population growth and impacts of climate change and COVID-19 on livelihoods, governments can only be creative in creating employment opportunities for their peoples.

This is why the Ghanaian Timescommends the government for its efforts in seeking ways to replace jobs which legitimately must be crushed, especially in the illegal mining sector, because of their negative impacts on the environment, including sources of water.

By now, those who are, in one way or another, against the war on illegal mining, otherwise termed galamsey, should have a change of mind and support the government to preserve the environment while making continuous efforts to create job opportunities not only for the galamseyers but also those on its value chain.

As asserted by President Akufo-Addo, this paper hopes that the programme would ameliorate the unavoidable and unintended hardships that have come to be associated with activities of Operation Halt IImeant to clamp down on galamsey and provide good economic livelihood options to enable those adversely impacted to work and support themselves and their families.

The programme needs the support of all stakeholders for its success because if only two of its six modules can provide 220,000 jobs, then its full implementation would be highly important in job creation in the country.

Besides the jobs to be created, the National Land Reclamation and Re-afforestation component of the programme would help reverse the negative impact of galamsey on the environment by restoring degraded lands as economically-viable resource, which, in turn, can be used in creating job opportunities for the youth, landowners, and communities at large. 

In a word, the NAELP is a promising initiative whose full implementation must be taken seriously, such that those who would undermine it in must not be spared.

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