A Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Ampontuah Kumah, has charged government institutions and local assemblies to rally the youth for the YouStart programme.
The Deputy Minister, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ejisu, said the recent Population and Housing Census had shown that Ghana’s youthful population was growing at an exponential rate, saying the government, through YouStart, was seeking to directly impact the lives of Ghanaian youth.
Dr Kumah made the call during a stakeholders’ engagement with more than 300 government officials, regional ministers and metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) in Tamale yesterday.
It was part of a nationwide stakeholders’ engagement on the YouStart programme, a government youth enterprise promotion intervention to be funded with proceeds from the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy).
The programme was attended by government officials, regional ministers and MMDCEs from the Upper West, Upper East, North East, Bono East and Northern regions.
A similar sensitisation engagement was held a week ago in Accra for the same category of participants drawn from the Greater Accra, Central and Western regions.
Case for YouStart
“Out of our population of 31 million, about 11 million are young people between the ages of 15-35, and so we must invest in them more than we have done over the years,” Dr Kumah said.
He said through the E-Levy, the government could mobilise about GH¢1 billion and invest it in the job creation potential of the youth this year.
Also to support YouStart investment were other commitments from our development partners and selected banks, he said.
“So, every government institution has an obligation to rally the youth in every part of the country for the YouStart programme,” he said.
He stressed that the programme was for every Ghanaian youth who had a business idea and needed training and funding to implement.
“I want to throw a challenge to every enterprising Ghanaian youth to take advantage of the YouStart and own it,” the Ejisu MP said.
Present at the engagement was the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development and MP for Okere, Dan Kwaku Botwe; a Deputy Minister of Local Government and MP for Techiman South, Martin Agyei-Mensah Korsah, and the Chief Executive officers of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme and the Ghana Enterprises Agencies, Kofi Ofosu Nkansah and Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, respectively.
YouStart seeks to support young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training and technical skills to enable them to start, build and grow their own businesses.
The initiative aims to support young people and students between the ages of 18 and 35 who have brilliant business ideas and viable businesses to nurture, grow and expand their businesses and create jobs in the economy.
The government, through the YouStart, intends to build an entrepreneurial nation by providing some of the key enablers that make entrepreneurship a success.
These include training and capacity-building, access to market, technology and procurement opportunities, business development support services, access to finance (up to GH¢500,000) and compliance and quality assurance support.
The Ministry of Finance has stated that given the high rate of youth unemployment in the country, the government intended to use the YouStart to create more jobs for the economy and support the expansion and growth of Ghanaian businesses within the next three years.
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