Employment Ministry chases Finance Ministry for over ¢200m refund

The Employment and Labour Relations Ministry has demanded an immediate refund of more than ¢200 million from the Finance Ministry, taken from the accounts of the Youth and Employment Agency (YEA) in 2016.

According to the Employment Ministry, the Finance Ministry transferred the said amount from the YEA account at the Bank of Ghana to help defray its arrears without YEA’s consent.

The CEO of the YEA Justin Kodua gave a breakdown of the amounts that were taken at a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Tuesday.

According to him, “¢66,390,383.98 was taken from the YEA account without any recourse to us. It did not happen only once…on July 6, 2017, we wrote to the Finance Ministry to draw their attention to it.

He added that “in the letter, we drew their attention that on June 16, 2015, they took ¢150 million from the account. On September 30, 2015, they took ¢53, 390, 383.98, then on February 22, 2017, they took ¢20 million from the account.   

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Mr Kodua said they wrote a letter to seek a refund but only the ¢20 million taken in 2017 was refunded and no mention was made of the other monies taken in the previous years.

Employment Minister, Ignatius Bafuor Awuah

According to the YEA Act, funding for the Agency comes from 80% of the Communication Service Tax, 10% of the District Assembly Common Fund as well as money from GETFund.

But the money was moved by the then Finance Minister for other purposes, it has said.

Things are not going well as the Employment Minister, Ignatius Bafuor Awuah has said the money is needed by the YEA to clear current outstanding arrears.

He said the Finance Ministry made a mistake in thinking the Employment Ministry did not have a use for the money and went ahead to spend it.

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“You [Finance Ministry] did not take into consideration how much I may have to spend and the number of people I have to pay on a monthly basis but go ahead to use our money, it makes things worse for us.

“As we speak now because of those withdrawals from YEA, the Agency is acknowledging arrears in terms of meeting the demands of beneficiaries, and it is actually a big toll on us,” he said.

The minister pleaded with the Committee to step in for YEA to get their refunds.

However, the chairman of PAC, James Avedzi, wants the Employment ministry to concentrate on its latest budgetary approvals and is unsure if they will ever be able to recover the moved sums. 

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