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The Minority in Parliament has accused Dr Ayew Afriyie, the chairman of the Health Committee, of deliberately obstructing a parliamentary probe into the government’s COVID-19 expenditure.

Parliament’s Speaker, Alban Bagbin, assigned the Finance and Health Committees the task of promptly probing the utilization of COVID-19 funds.

This directive was issued in response to perceived irregularities in the handling of COVID-19 funds, as presented by the Finance Minister on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

On Wednesday, February 21, the Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, voiced concerns on the Parliament floor, accusing the MP for Effiduase/Asokore of undermining the investigation.

“The chairman of the joint committee, Ayew Afriyie, has not called a meeting to sit on the matter. The ranking member cannot obviously call a meeting and it is only the chairman who can call the meeting. So we are sensing some form of sabotage.

“There was a sub-committee that the joint committee formed and developed a guideline, and submitted it to the joint committee, which it accepted and as we speak, this matter has been delayed for almost eight months, and we cannot continue like this.”

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In another development, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. John Kumah, has disclosed that the government collected a total of GH¢1.19 billion in revenue from the E-levy for the year 2023.

From this sum, the government allocated funds to its YouStart Programme, the Ghana Enterprise Agency, and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme to combat unemployment in the country.

Dr. John Kumah made these remarks in response to the latest figures from the Ghana Statistical Service, which indicated that over a million Ghanaian youth were unemployed, during the media launch of the Wealth and Jobs Expo Ghana.

“The Ghana Statistical Service on Wednesday announced that about 1.5 million Ghanaian youth are unemployed. Last year, E-levy generated GH¢1.19 billion and as part of dealing with the job situation… unemployment situation, the government has committed funds through YouStart from this E-levy sources…to GEA and NEIP to address the unemployment situation in the country, and I am happy to announce that institutions like Wealth and Jobs Expo and all private groups that are willing to help create jobs in the private sector will also be supported to help create jobs and businesses in the private sector,” he said

Dr. John Kumah further highlighted the government’s efforts in attracting investments into the country while spurring job creation, emphasizing the need for belief in entrepreneurship to address the unemployment rate.

“In the medium term, the government aims to intensify efforts to attract domestic investments and FDIs [Foreign Direct Investments] in strategic centres with emphasis on creating jobs anchored on the government’s growth strategy. The strategy is projected to contribute to the creation of approximately 500,000 jobs.

“We are not saying 1.5 million [unemployed youth], every one of them should create jobs. No. Even if we get it, we get 10% of them, it’s 150,000 who will become entrepreneurs. If they do an average of let’s say 100 jobs….150,000 x 100, you have almost solved the unemployment problem,” the Deputy Minister of Finance added.

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