The Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie has assured the 60,000 beneficiaries of the Youth in Afforestation Program whose 4 months allowances have not been paid that they will receive payment in two (2) weeks
According to him, the Chief of Staff, Madam Frema Opare has instructed the Ministry of Finance to give financial clearance to the Director of Finance at the Forestry Commission to go to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department for money to settle the 4 months arrears.
Addressing the media at the Conference room of the Ministry of Information under the ‘Meet The Press’ program, Sir John as he is affectionately called said in response to a question posed to him that he has given himself up to one to two weeks to pay the youth their overdue pay.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries of the Youth in Afforestation programme have been demanding that the Forestry Commission pay them their monthly allowances, which they claim is three months past due.
The aggrieved beneficiaries at Weija (Joma) and Achimota (EcoPark) claim the Youth-In-Afforestation, an internationally-funded programme, has taken responsibility of the debt.
According to them, although the Commission has requested for personal data from them which they have willingly complied with, the information requested is just repetitive.
But on Tuesday December 4, 2018 at the ‘Meet The Press’ with the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, Sir John took the opportunity to answer a question posed to him regarding the youths overdue allowances and said that every worker deserves payment.
“I admit that they have worked so hard and efficiently and I also admit that the work was tough and so the impressive work they have done and how the trees have grown beautifully, they deserve their allowances,” he sided with the youth.
“Due to this, the Chief of Staff went to the Ministry of Finance last night to urge the Ministry to pay the 4 months arrears, and surely we will receive that money for the youths. They have asked my Finance Director to go to Controller for the money and so due to process at Controller, I have given myself up to one or two weeks to pay the youths their allowances,” he assured.
He said he was saddened for the fact that the allowances of the youths had remained unpaid for the past 4 months; reiterating that this challenge of unpaid allowances has made him restless, reminding them that he stands with them in their difficulties.
“I feel restless and so they should understand that I stand with them in their challenges. I allowed them to be employed and so I will ensure that their monies are paid to them,” he reassured.