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Gov’t hasn’t focused on youth entrepreneurship despite 2020 manifesto promise – Dr. Adongo

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“It has been abysmal and it is not only this government. Successive governments over the years, anytime they talk about any employment programme, they eventually turn it into a youth direct transfer programme where they get people to sit down and get paid. They go and get Ghc200 million and they create 20,000 jobs. But the jobs are not jobs that contribute directly to production. They [the youth] sit down and then get some Ghc600 or Ghc700 every month for about 3 years and then they are weaned off into nothing. That has been the approach over the years.”

Dr. Michael Ayamga-Adongo, a Development Economist said this when he spoke about the approach of the current government as well as previous governments in tackling youth employment and entrepreneurship.

It would be recalled that ahead of the 2020 general election, the NPP promised to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. That formed part of the government’s grand agenda to reach a Ghana Beyond Aid.

“Investing in Youth Development and Entrepreneurship: The Ghanaian youth is at the centre of the growth agenda of our Ghana Beyond Aid vision, particularly in the roles of entrepreneurship and digitisation in the growth of the economy. We have kept faith with the youth by creating over two million jobs in three and half years which mostly benefits the youth. We have invested in youth-focused entrepreneurial programmes and free secondary and technical-vocational too. Over the next four years, we plan to tackle the rental segment of the housing market providing the youth with low-interest loans to enable them pay rent advance. We will also implement programmes to reduce further the cost of data to support youth-focused businesses, and to be the drivers of our digital services. We will implement the US$200 million Job and Skills Project which will provide youth-owned small businesses with grants, training, apprenticeship, and entrepreneurial skills. Furthermore, we will designate the creative arts industry as a major growth pole and
establish a Creative Arts Fund to support artists.”

Despite the government’s promises, Dr. Ayamga-Adongo believes not much has been done to directly grow businesses, particularly those of the youth in the country.

“Sometimes, they [the youth] are trained in skills that are not competitive. For example, you gather young people and train them in concreting and masonry and then you expect that they go and find jobs and think you have created jobs or empowered young people for jobs. No, I don’t think that that is it.”

“We don’t necessarily focus on entrepreneurship. We focus on skills training that makes them join the long labour lines. We also train them to provide menial services like doing masonry or carpentry in the informal sector. Even after we do that, we do not actually set them up,” he said.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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