The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta says the government’s decision to invest about GHC10 billion in the youth of the country is unprecedented.
He said the move will help to create an enabling environment for the youth to succeed.
Speaking with Kweku Adoboli on the Asaase Business Round Table Thursday (18 November) Ofori-Atta said, “For the first time we’ve been able to put together a YouStart and entrepreneurial programme where GHC10 billion is going to be invested in the youth to create an enabling environment for them to succeed.”
He said, “It is going to be a very interesting time in our country where we will see the youth energised to take business risks; some may lose money but then that is part of the learning process [in doing business].”
Ofori-Atta added, “You have an army of unemployed [youth] … and situations where living standards are quite low and difficult, however, you need to tackle the matter of revenue before you can stabilise your economy. The question is, who pays for it?”
The government is to roll out a new initiative dubbed “ YouStart” aimed at creating one million jobs for the youth, the Minister of Finance has said.
YouStart is a vehicle for supporting young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them to launch and operate their own businesses.
Delivering the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government in Parliament on Wednesday (17 November), Ken Ofori-Atta said the initiative will start with an initial funding of GHC1 billion.
“This understanding of the youth employment challenge, as well as extensive consultations with stakeholders including youth associations and educational institutions across the country, have led to the development of the YouStart initiative which proposes to use GHC1 billion to create one million jobs and in partnership with the Finance Institutions and Development Partners,” he said.
”In addition, our local banks have agreed to a package that will result in increasing their SME portfolio up to about GHC 5 billion over the next three years.”
Under the initiative, soft loans of up to GHC50,000 will be provided to beneficiaries to help start-ups (in particular by young graduates and school leavers) and small businesses to expand.
“Starter packs (Soft loans tied to equipment acquisition) of up to GHC50,000 for individuals and GHC100,000 for associations/groups. A standardised loan package of between GHC100,000 to GHC400,000 at concessional rates for SMEs through financial institutions,” he said.
“The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and partner financial institutions, will serve as the implementing arms of YouStart. Entrepreneurs will be able to apply for support through a dedicated YouStart online portal. NEIP will also engage our faith-based organisations as partners for the delivery of essential artisanal skills,” Ofori-Atta added.