The government of Ghana recently announced the impending launch of a policy referred to as Nation Builders’ Corps (NABCO) which as explained by the Vice President is meant to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country by engaging the teaming unemployed graduates in the country.
The Vice president explained this initiative further on April 21, 2018, at Winneba where he revealed that the program would be launched on 1st May -Workers day. He also revealed that program comes under seven modules which is meant to engage a total of 100,000 graduates.
“We are embarking on a new programme that the President is going to launch on May Day, and it is targeted at graduate unemployment. It is called the Nation Builders Corps and it is to supplement all the other programmes run by the Youth Employment Agency and the others. The Nation Builders Corps is going to be hiring graduates. Dr Bawumia
However, these news has not been well received by most graduates especially of the health sector and they feel this is meant to exploit them by turning them into a source of cheap labour. Most of the members of the health sector admonish that the government has seen the need for more staff at the health institution yet not prepared to face the problem as it is and this ‘temporal’ solution may just turn up to be a permanent order.
In my efforts to understand the point from the affected group, I came across a group of unemployed professionals of the Medical Laboratory sector led by Mr. Cephas Akortor and this is what he had to say about their position on the impending NABCO policy.
We have followed with keen interest the discrimination by the Ministry of Health and the deliberate attempts of some greedy people who want to sabotage our profession for reasons best known to them. We have also been patient enough for the ministry to address our grievances but to no avail.
If the public sector is choked, the medical laboratory is never choked. More extra professionals are needed to provide quality and essential healthcare services to Ghanaians and to reduce the turnaround time for patients who visit the medical laboratories.
Since the year 2012, we, the Medical Laboratory Science graduates (non-bonded) have been abandoned and sidelined. Other healthcare professionals have been employed in successive years but our members have not been engaged. We have exhausted all the diplomatic measures available to us but to no avail.
We cannot, under this deliberate discrimination, frustration and desperation to get employed accept the offer of nation builders’ corps (NABCO) when there are vacancies for our engagement as professionals.
If with our license and training as Medical Laboratory Scientists we accept Gh₵ 700 from the government then how much would private facilities pay us? Is the government aware of the huge sums of money spent on our training as professionals and the stress we had to go through? What is this inhumane treatment?
Think of it. It is an attempt to get cheap labour. We have attended school. Got trained as professionals. Have our licenses. The government that is supposed to employ and pay us says the public sector is choked. But the same government has space in the lab to engage us for the same work they say there is no space and pay us Gh₵ 700? No, Sir!
If there are spaces in the laboratory to engage our services for Gh₵ 700 monthly allowance, then what prevents the government from employing us as full-time workers to get what we deserve? Is the government aware or the bio-hazards we are going to be exposed to? Can the Gh₵ 700 provide for our insurance cover?
We are never going to accept this attempts to throw dust into our eyes. If they like, they can engage the services of quarks in the medical laboratory and put the life of Ghanaians at risk.
If the government really wants to tackle the issue of unemployment, they should double or increase the national service allowance for service personnel. If possible, NSS can give them half of that amount monthly for their living expenses and save the remaining half for them which they should be given at the end of their service.
This would accumulate a very good amount of money to serve as a start-up capital for the unemployed graduates to get something meaningful to do after national service. Through that the unemployed graduate can even become an employer and the government wouldn’t have to suffer the hullabaloo of unemployment.
In case the government does not have enough funds to increase the allowance for NSPs, then we suggest they cancel college allowances and make scholarships available for only deserving students.
It is very discriminatory to have allowances paid for some students who are readily employed after training to the detriment of those who struggle throughout their tertiary education and have no jobs in the end.
That money can create jobs so that even if one borrows money to pay his or her fees, there is a guaranteed job upon completion. Then the borrowed money can be paid to the rightful own. This can go a very long way to even eliminate the soaring levels of robbery in our country.
We hope the government would pay heed to our plight and take pragmatic steps to address our concerns.
Cephas K. Akortor, MLS.
(Concerned Unemployed MLS)