The leading opposition party in Ghana, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described the 2012 budget presented to parliament on Wednesday, 16th November, 2011 by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr.Kwabena Duffour as a 'recycled budget' which has nothing good to offer the people of Ghana.
The 2012 budget of Ghana has been christened “infrastructural development for accelerated growth and job creation” by the ruling National Democratic Congress which took over power from the NPP promising to create jobs for the many unemployed youth in the country. The president on assumption of office in 2009 promised to build a better Ghana and declared at the beginning of this year that, “2011 is going to be a year of action”.
After almost three years in office, the major challenge facing the ruling government is employment generation for the youth of the country who have come together to form for the first time in the country's history Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana (UGAG) with the aim of pressing upon the government to create jobs for the youth.
Presenting the budget to parliament, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning assured that “the National Youth Employment Programme aims at recruiting some 692,000 people under its 15 modules and projects, and create 500,000 new jobs over the next four years” adding “Government will support the establishment of the Ghana Centre for Entrepreneurship Employment and Innovation (GCEEI)” to offer entrepreneurship training to the youth to be able to create their own jobs. This for me is a step in the right direction if it doesn't remain a mere political talk characteristic of most African governments.
It is about time opportunities are created for African youth to maximize their full potential and create their own wealth instead of waiting for governments to offer them 'white collar jobs' which are mostly non-existing.
Unfortunately, in Ghana and in most African countries, there is no collaboration between education and industry. Some graduates come out of universities and cannot write application letters let alone proposals to enable them source for funding to start up their own businesses. Some of them also perform so well in their academics but perform woefully in the job market. As a result, those in the business community who fail to invest in education but want to reap where they have not sown complain that graduates lately are undeforming which to me is hypocrisy at the highest level. It is about time corporate bodies cut down their investment in beauty pageants and redirect it to develop the education sector.
African leaders must be up and doing and learn lessons from the recent uprising in the Arab world which started in Tunisia, where an unemployed youth burnt himself to death which sparked of protests against the government which later spread to Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Syria among others.
African leaders must also know that, dependence on the West is not the panacea to Africa's problems for president Obama clearly stated this in his address to Ghana's parliament in his first official visit to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 that, “Africa's future is up to Africans”
I was impressed when the president of Ghana, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills told African diplomats few days ago in Ottawa, Canada that “some countries still believe that countries in Africa should be able to dance to their tunes; unfortunately, some of us also find it very difficult to break the umbilical cords that link us to those countries” advising “we must take bold steps forward to be able to do this”.
According to him, “we as African leaders have to sit down and ask ourselves; what have we done wrong? You see, if you allow others to dictate for you, if you allow others to take your destiny in their own hands, you have no control over how they are going to direct you.
"For far too long we listened to others, now it is not the questions of they talking to us, they are now acting the way they see best, which is not always in our best interest.”
Now is the time for our leaders to make real the rhetoric and promises of yesteryears into action for the total development of our youth. Now is the time to link academia with industry so that students can get practical training while pursuing their programmes. By so doing, they will attain practical skills and by the time they come out of school, they would have been able to create their own jobs instead of depending on the government.
It is therefore imperative for our educational institutions to introduce entrepreneurship training modules as part of their curricula to train students on how to create their own wealth and employ others in their businesses.
In the words of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president and BBC's African Personality of the Millennium, “If we do not approach the problems in Africa with a common front and a common purpose, we shall be haggling and wrangling among ourselves until we are colonized again and become the tools of a far greater colonialism than we suffered hitherto''.
Francis Xavier Tuokuu/Ghananewslink.com