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03.04.2007 General News

Street Hawkers Prefer Selling To Vocational Skills

By Daily Guide

A NUMBER OF street hawkers in the Accra Metropolis have firmly stated they preferred hawking on the streets to acquiring vocational skills.

According to them, doing business on the streets was more lucrative than “spending several years at the training centre to gain skills.”

The hawkers, most of whom were in their teen ages, expressed these when Daily Guide sought from them why they still preferred selling on the streets while the Government's National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) was in full operation nation-wide.

“I have been selling on the streets of Accra for the past 6 years to support my family. I dropped out of school because my parents were unable to fund my education.

Though painful, I had no option but to do my best to support them and my three other siblings,” 22-year-old Kwamena Abban,” told Daily Guide.

Kwamena Abban, who trades in air-fresheners and other assorted items, said he could make as much profit as ¢70,000 a day.

“Actually, business on the streets, to me is more profitable than spending years to learn a trade. Sometimes, I sell as much as ¢100,000 worth of my goods a day.”

The number of hawkers on the streets of Accra and other regional capitals has increased over the last few months, with greater percentage of them taking advantage of the traffic situation in these areas to do brisk business.

When contacted, Dr. Yaw Brempong-Yeboah, Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment expressed deep concerns about the alarming situation and said the ministry, in collaboration with the coordinators of the National Youth Employment Programme, would do everything humanly possible to ensure the success of the nation-wide programme.

He said one of the many ways to make the National Youth Employment Programme a success was for the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to strictly enforce their respective by-laws to ensure maximum sanity in the system.

He therefore proposed that serious sanctions be taken against those who bought from street hawkers as well.

As he pointed out, street hawkers were the main targets of the programme, and its main objective was to solve the youth unemployment situation in the country besides ensuring that people worked in a decent and congenial environment.

The NYEP Secretariat, he said, had as at December last year, registered and offered employment to about 74,000 people countrywide.

Dr. Brempong-Yeboah cited employees of Zoom Lion (sanitary labourers of the city) and members of the Community Protection Unit as some of the beneficiaries of the programme.

According to the Deputy Minister, thousands of other people, majority of who were the youth, were currently being trained in a wide range of vocational skills in the various districts of the country, and urged those who had not yet made themselves available for the programme to do so as practicable as possible.

He answered in the affirmative when asked whether the programme was doing well in all the districts.

The Deputy Minister therefore called on all and sundry to support the Government to realise its dream of making Ghana a better place.