Yesterday, Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) trainees embarked on a demonstration through the principal streets of Accra to demand the immediate payment of their allowance arrears.
They also called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, formulate and implement a career pathway for NaBCo trainees.
NaBCo was established by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in May 2018, to help address the challenges facing the economy by providing unemployed graduates some jobs in the face of a ban on public sector employment imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
At inception, it was focused on solving public service delivery in health, education, agriculture, technology, governance and driving revenue mobilisation and collection.
Its objectives include providing temporary employment to unemployed graduates and improving their skills and employability for transition from programme to permanent employment.
As an initiative to run for a three-year tenure for a new cohort to be recruited, the pioneer session ended on October 31, last year but the NaBCo Secretariat directed trainees to remain at post, citing a directive coming after a high-level consultation with implementation partners led by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Opare.
The NaBCo demonstration raises issues that must be explained for clarity to reign.
One of the issues is that the trainees claim they are owed 10 months’ allowance arrears whereas the Greater Accra Regional Co-ordinator of NABCO, Alhaji Baba Mohammed says only allowances for the September and October are outstanding and currently being worked on by management.
He explained that those who have not been paid are personnel with peculiar problems but would be categorical, some personnel are owed more than the two months that he himself alludes to.
Who is telling the public the truth and what will anyone, a trainee or official, gain by lying in this matter?
The Ghanaian Times appeals to the parties to let the public know the truth because if it is made to succeed, NaBCo can be a stop gap to reduce some of the stress some university graduates suffer as unemployed individuals who have nowhere else to make a living.
The truth is that graduate unemployment is mounting and something must be done about it, so if the NaBCo is made to fail a worst situation would result.
No one is saying NaBCo is the best of things but the truth is that even the job experience it provides is worth it because such experience is now a critical requirement for certain jobs.
Therefore, the government must do all it can to stop officials and acts that can ruin the scheme.
The other issue is Mr Mohammed’s own assertion that a lot of the trainees had been employed but had refused to get off the system, hence the need for a head count to resolve that matter.
Does the NaBCo Secretariat need the head count at a demonstration before it can identify trainees who have been employed elsewhere?
How were the trainees being checked by way of their regularity to the training sessions?
It can be the case that someone was not present to be counted not because that person is employed somewhere but because he does not want to be part of the demonstration.
That is to say that there is the need for caution and this is important so that a trainee would not be wrongfully categorised as what he is not.
Another issue has to do with the tenure and the batch or cohort of trainees.
From the narrative, the current trainees have been in the system for over three years without any mention of different groups behind them.
The only rumor now is that a new group would be engaged this year.
What happens to graduates joining the labour force every year whose only hope, at least, in the interim, is NaBCo?
The scheme needs to be reformed to reflect its object of preparing university graduates for the world of work.