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04.11.2008 Politics

Future is for the youth -As Nana Addo promises more jobs

By The Statesman

There is a tremendous ray of hope for the youth of this country who hitherto seemed to have resigned themselves to their fate for lack of adequate jobs.

The standard bearer of the governing New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo, has given a firm promise that when given the mandate to govern this country after the December 7 election, his administration would create plenty jobs for them (youth).

Last Friday at the Independence Square in Accra, Nana Akufo-Addo launched the "Believe in Ghana' concept amidst pomp and pageantry - with young, talented musicians, colossal music lovers and party loyalists in attendance.

The enthusiastic youth, foreseeing a brighter future, danced their hearts out after Nana Addo had encouraged them to believe that whatever big dreams they had would be accomplished if they remained focused and pursued their vision with perseverance.

According to the NPP flagbearer, his government would undertake a sustained programme through the establishment of Colleges of Technology, to offer training on employable skills for the young ones so as to make them easy targets for employment.

Nana Akufo-Addo is not happy about what he described as the 'Guggisberg type of economy' - whereby only raw materials are produced for export.

In order to create more jobs and at the same time earn more foreign exchange for the country, a Nana Addo-led government would ensure that value was added to the raw materials.

As captured in the NPP manifesto which was launched by the party's Presidential candidate recently, a greater focus is going to be on mechanised agriculture, with a lot of emphasis on irrigation development, especially in the northern sectors of the country.

With a promise to establish heavy industry, harness the mineral resources including iron, gas, salt, and the recently discovered oil that would be the basis for a petrochemical industry, Nana Akufo-Addo is very optimistic that the youth will soon be beaming with smiles under his administration.

Services in the areas of tourism, health, education and the financial institutions are also remarkable ways of job creation.

The Small and Medium scale Enterprises have also not been left out of the job creation programme as a $1billion Industrial Development Fund has already been floating in the system to assist the SMEs to grow.

Some immediate measures to be taken to recruit many Ghanaians for lucrative occupations in the public sector as outlined by Nana Akufo-Addo include 25,000 new policemen, 20,000 'TANKASE" (sanitation inspectors) per year for 5 years, the expansion of NYEP from 108,000 to 500,000 and reforestation - 200,000.

Records so far indicate that the NPP government, under President Kufuor, has increased the country's Gross Domestic Product from $4 billion to $16 billion; private sector credit expanded from GH¢385million to GH¢3,300; NYEP - 108,000 people have been employed and the Cocoa Spraying exercise - 60,000

On education, Nana Akufo-Addo has given the assurance that his government would

improve the Senior High School system so that more students would qualify for university.

More and bigger Universities (new ones in Volta, Brong-Ahafo and Eastern) would be established, including Open Universities.

Regarding technical education, Nana Akufo-Addo promises to expand polytechnics, establish Colleges of technology, institute more scholarships for technical education, a national apprenticeship programme and expand the Skills Training and Enterpreneurship Programme.

Adult illiteracy, according to him, would be reduced to half in ten years and enable life-long learning by building a library with modern facilities in every district.

Additionally, an NPP government under his stewardship would build Science and Technology Parks near universities to promote research and job-creation and focus Universities on Science and Technology and place added emphasis on technical and vocational education to meet the challenges of nation building.

Being the bedrock of the country's development, Nana says he would leave no stone unturned to ensure quality education for all Ghanaians of school-going age; and also ensure that education is made accessible to every child.

In this regard, the next NPP regime is going to extend free public education to Senior High School level; extend the School Feeding Programme to every primary school within five years; train more teachers, equipping and paying them better with special allowances for posts in rural areas.

Currently less than 4 percent of education expenditure is spent on teacher training - 'we will increase this to 10%. By 2015, 20 percent of primary school teachers must be university graduates' Nana underscored.

He would improve quality by strengthening and resourcing the Independent Inspectorate Institution, establishing 'league tables' with rewards to spur competition and raise academic standards and performance as well as build more classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, technical workshops and staff quarters and make available adequate teaching and learning materials.

Touching on health, Nana Akufo-Addo has reiterated that his administration would attract professional health workers to rural areas by providing a 10% 'Rural Allowance', building dedicated housing and reducing by 20% the time required for doctors serving rural communities to qualify for post-graduate work.

He and his team would also 'make Ghana the cleanest country in West Africa within five years by increasing investment in sanitation, building sewage systems, training more inspectors (20,000 sanitary inspectors per year for the next five years) and enforcing laws.

Motor vehicle accidents would be reduced with better training for drivers, police enforcement of road safety laws and building accident care centres. Provision of access to safe, drinkable water for all Ghanaians by 2015 is another priority of Nana's government.

'We shall commit 10% of our budget to healthcare within the next five years to give impetus to these programmes', he posited.