The Minority is demanding an audit into what it claims to be frivolous expenses and a possible case of causing financial loss to the state by the Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh in a one million cedis Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program (MIT) held last year.
The group does not understand how such a whopping amount of money will be spent on such a program with an extra 300,000 cedis on travel, boarding and lodging expenses.
Kumbugu MP Ras Mubarak who described the expenses as frivolous wondered why the government had to spend that amount on 13 officials for a training program in the US when GIMPA could easily have organized a similar program for them at a cheaper cost.
He filed an urgent question on the floor to which the sector Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh appeared to provide an answer but he was not satisfied.
The MIT Programme is expected to create an ecosystem of innovation to drive youth employment in Ghana.
In October 2017, 13 out of 17 officials drawn from National Service Secretariat, National Youth Authority, and National Board for Small Scale industries and National Entrepreneurial Innovation Plan, Masloc, travelled to Cambridge for the four day MIT program at cost of ¢1,635,590.00. The travel and boarding fee was said to have cost the personnel 309,591 cedis.
The program is expected to run for two years which means officials of the youth agencies will incur similar travel costs.
The amount has sent the tongues of the Minority members wagging and they want the Ministry to show the viability of the program.
Ras Mubarak said six months after they returned what have they to show for the expenses incurred.
“What is the value addition to the youth who have been looking for jobs? What incubator programmes have they organized to build capacity of the youth?
But the CEO of the National Service Secretariat Mustapha Yusif has justified the expenses and the relevance of the program.
He argued the training program is to sharpen the skill of all heads of youth agencies in the country order for them to explore better job opportunities for the youth.
“Government sees youth unemployment as a key problem facing it…” he said, adding with such a program it will coordinate and bring all these agencies to brainstorm and get a better job creation model not just for Ghana but Africa.
The MIT innovative lab, he argued is a global lab where when there is a huge challenge facing a country they attend and come out with a model to solve that problem.
Mustapha Yusif said after the program, MIT will help raise funds for the execution of the model drawn by the attendees.
He added on their return from the first phase of the program they have already started a poultry training program for 500 national service personnel.
He said the objective is to ensure that all the 500 personnel who complete this model will establish their own program in various localities.