Ghana's Parliament has approved a US$200 million financing agreement between the Government of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) to finance the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project (GJSP).
The project, which is being financed with credit from the IDA would be implemented over a six-year period and is expected to close on 30th June, 2026.
The terms and conditions of the credit facility include the loan amount of US$200 million, Repayment period of 25 years, grace period of five years, maturity period of 30 years and interest charge of 1.35 percent per annum.
There is commitment charge of 0.5 per cent per annum, Service charge of 1.29 per cent per annum and concessionality rate of 26.22 per cent.
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Chairman of the Finance Committee, presenting the committee's report, observed that the objective of the project was to facilitate the socio-economic development of the country through an improved support for skills development and job creation across the country.
He said the project was structures into five components such as provision of apprenticeship training for jobs, provision of entrepreneurship and micro and small enterprise support for jobs, youth employment and skills development programmes, project management support for enhanced skills and jobs impact and contingent emergency and response.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah also observed that through the apprenticeship and entrepreneurship skills development, coupled with grants to individuals, micro and small enterprises envisaged under the project are expected to create more descent jobs through firm growth and the establishment of new businesses.
He said an estimated number of 25,000 individuals would receive apprenticeship training under a standardized, quality-assured system under component one.
He said out of this number, about 70 percent are expected to have jobs six months after the completion of training, amounting to a minimum of 17,500 jobs.
He said a minimum number of 50,000 individuals are expected to receive entrepreneurship training under subcomponent two of the programme.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah also noted that administrative information from the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) indicate that for every direct job, two or three indirect jobs are created within the income generating activities of that apprentice and entrepreneur.
He said in line with the projection, the jobs under the component one and subcomponent two were expected to yield 105,000 to 157,500 indirect jobs.
He said in total, expected minimum direct jobs were 94,500 and expected minimum indirect jobs are 105,000 and expected total minimum jobs are 199,500.
Mr Richard Acheampong, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bia East, urged the government to ensure that US$40 million provision for Entrepreneurship Training and Competitive Business start-up grants to individuals should be devoid of any partisan consideration.
He expressed concern that component four of the project which relates to capacity development and technical assistance was costing the nation US$40million, which is 25 percent of the loan facility, saying the capacity building was on the high side.
He however urged government to reduce the amount for the capacity building for the trainers by half and channel the funds to train the apprentices and also provide them the start-up capital.
Mr Acheampong also called on government to setup a central system where people can easily check the figures on the country's labour force, which he said was very hard to ascertain.
He said the various ministries continue to churn-out numbers, which are very difficult to verify since there was no central point to validate these figures.
“There should be a central point so that at the click of a button, one can easily get this information. Right now, if you want to know the unemployment levels in the country you cannot find it,” he added.