Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, says it is an insult and unacceptable for the government to pay beneficiaries of the Youth in Afforestation Programme, only one out of the six months’ salary arrears.
83,000 beneficiaries are owed six months by the government. The affected persons have over the last months held several demonstrations to push government to pay them all outstanding arrears without success.
At the end of planting activities in October 2019, a total area of 26,865 hectares had been planted with species such as teak, Cedrela, gmelina, ofram, emire, mahogany and rosewood among others.
The Finance Ministry on December 19, 2019, released one out of the six months’ salary arrears for the beneficiaries.
But Mr Owusu-Afriyie insisted the beneficiaries have worked and deserve to be paid in full just like any other.
“They’ve worked; they’ve delivered and we acknowledge that. Therefore, if they are not paid, I will be angry,” he said at an end of year briefing in Accra.
“If you owe somebody six months and you pay one month it is an insult. Is that not so?” he asked, adding “It is unacceptable and nobody can bear that, especially when we are going into the Christmas when you have been paid and they have not got anything”.
Mr Owusu-Afriyie said he takes full responsibility for the situation, indicating he has “not been fair to them. I’m the one to apologise for that”
He has meanwhile assured the beneficiaries that he would do everything possible within his power to ensure that the beneficiaries are paid in full.
“I believe that we will do whatever it takes to get their monies paid to them and whatever it takes to pay we will do so,” he assured the beneficiaries.
Revenue target exceeded
On revenue, the chief executive said the Commission exceeded its internally generated revenue target for 2019 by 33 million cedis. In all, it raised 86 million cedis.
Total revenue achievements of the Commission including government subvention and donor funding as at the end of the financial year came to 146 million cedis.
The forestry commission projected 53 million cedis as its target for 2019 through internally generated fund. This was to be realized through royalties, sales of timber products among others.
Government subvention and 10 million cedis from donor partners, brought the overall revenue of the commission to 146 million cedis.
63 million cedis was spent on salaries as against the 68 million cedis budgeted for while 94 million cedis was spent on goods and services. The Commission also spent 6.4 million cedis on asset.