The National Youth Authority (NYA) which exist more in name than in substance, has been found to have paid an unapproved sitting allowance to its Board members in breach of a directive from the Ministry of Finance that ordered all government organizations to seek approval for such payments, the 2021 report of the Auditor-General, has revealed.
The authority, has lacked purpose and has been directionless for many years, existing mainly as a place where young politicians from the two leading parties are dumped and paid something by way of monthly salaries and allowances.
The 2021 report of the Auditor-General minced no words in establishing that a total payment of GH¢1,181,777.50 3411 as sitting allowance to the Board Committee was without recourse to the directives of the Ministry of Finance.
Unemployment, drug abuse and crime among the youth has been a growing concern to many but the NYA and its supervising body; Ministry of Youth and Sports, have failed to be in the forefront of addressing these concerns. Indeed, the ministry’s attention has been on sports to the neglect of the youth giving reason for many to question the continuous relevance of the NYA and monies going there annually which end up in the payment of sitting allowances.
The audit report had said that the government, through the Ministry of Finance, in a circular on allowances for Boards and Councils in the public services dated 2 November 2018 with Ref. No. BD/CMU/BCA/2018/001, stated in paragraph 2 that: “Boards and Councils of various institutions are requested to apply to the Ministry of Finance for the approved rates applicable to their respective Institutions”.
Also, Section 9 of National Youth Authority Act, 2016 (Act 939) states: “Members of the Board and members of a committee of the Board shall be paid the allowances approved by the Minister in consultation with the Minister responsible for Finance”.
However, the audit team said: “In contravention of the above directives and provisions, our review of financial transactions of the Authority disclosed that a total of GH¢1,181,777.50 was paid as Board and Board committee allowances and management retreat/workshops during the period of the audit without adhering to the directive from the Ministry of Finance”.
The report said the NYA management’s “disregard for government directives resulted in the infraction”.
“We recommended that the management should apply to the Ministry of Finance for the approved rates applicable to the Authority” and “notify” the audit team, accordingly.
In response, the management of the NYA explained that “the payments were made based on category 2 of the letter from the Ministry of Finance and advice from the sector ministry”.
The Authority, however, said it has “applied to the Ministry of Finance for the specific approved rates applicable and would notify the audit team, accordingly”.
The report, which pertains to audited financial statements of the NYA for the two years ended 31 December 2019, said the overall financial performance of the Authority during the period under review showed a surplus of GH¢45,561,779 as compared with GH¢48,907,667 recorded in the 2018 financial year, representing a reduction of 6.8%.
Total income for the year 2019 reduced by GH¢10,845,615 from GH¢87,676,965 in 2018 to GH¢76,831,350 in 2018, representing a 12.37% decline.
The decrease was mainly a result of the delay in the receipt of the Authority’s allocation of District Assemblies Common Fund.
Total expenditure also decreased by 19.34% from GH¢38,769,298 in 2018 to GH¢31,269,571 in 2019.
This was primarily due to a 31% or GH¢9,135,565 decrease in goods and service expenditure.
The make-up of this expenditure was a 56% or GH¢3,260,254 reduction in travel and transport; 100% or GH¢5,379,264 non-occurrence of consultancy expenses and a 29% or GH¢2,039,088 reduction of special services/monitoring expenses.
Meanwhile, non-current assets registered an increase of 60.89% from GH¢72,600,998 in 2018 to GH¢116,808,967 in 2019.
Ongoing construction of 10 youth resource centres across 10 regions in the country accounted mainly for the increase.
Current assets also rose to GH¢4,135,924 in 2019 from GH¢2,515,343 in 2018, an increase of GH¢1,620,581 or 64.43%.
This consisted of cash and cash equivalent only.
Current liabilities decreased by 54.08% from GH¢580,992 in 2018 to GH¢266,773 in 2019.
This was as a result of payment to a service provider that the Authority engaged in 2013.
The Authority’s liquidity position, as measured by current ratio, improved significantly from 4.3:1 in 2018 to 15.5:1 in 2019, giving the indication that the Authority can meet its immediate financial obligations as the ratio is far above the accepted industry measure of 2:1.