Accra, Oct. 23, GNA - Government is to disburse 10 billion cedis under the National Youth Fund to eight selected vocational and technical institutions and groups to help them establish or expand their businesses.
The disbursement would start by the close of October and the Takorasi Youth Leadership Training Institute in the Eastern region, is among the first to benefit from the fund, Mr Joe Mantey, National Coordinator of the National Youth Council announced this in Accra.
The Fund, established with a seed capital of 50 billion cedis is to help in the general development of the youth and to assist technical institutions to train more youth in employable skills.
Addressing a youth forum organised by the National Youth Platform, a local non-governmental organisation, for political parties, Mr Mantey advised interested youth with vocational background to come together in groups to access the fund through the 33 District Assemblies that were currently operating the fund.
Mr Mantey explained to the youth and the representatives of the political parties at the forum that the revision of the 1999 National Youth Policy did not mean, "it is a bad policy but only to ensure that it is trimmed and packaged to meet current standards and appropriately address issues that affect the youth".
He announced that a national stakeholders' meeting was to be organised between October 27 and October 29 to review the youth policy and adopt a plan of action since the current one did not have one. He said the meeting was also to discuss and come out with a Youth Charter that would bear all the issues of youth for actions to be taken.
Mr Mantey said the youth of today had a brighter future and prospects than those of yesteryears and that they should take advantage of the opportunities available to develop.
"There should not be lazing around because there are enough opportunities available for the youth; I am very optimistic about the future of our youth", Mr Mantey said.
Mr Bright Appiah, the Secretary General of the National Youth Platform, expressed regret that society had a negative perception that the youth of today were hooligans, social disasters, deviants, comedians and with high propensity to commit crime.
He said, that perception must be discarded since the youth of every nation constituted its engine of growth and for that matter had to be taken seriously.
"Seeking the perspective of the youth would also be adhering to our constitutional rights and chart a common path for continued sustainability of youth governance and economic growth of the youth in Ghana."
Various representatives from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP); New Patriotic Party (NPP); Great Consolidated People's Party (GCPP) and the Peoples National Convention (PNC) addressed the forum and outlined their vision and programme of action for the youth, should they win power in election 2004.