Accra, May 18, GNA - A Ghana Youth Employment Programme (GYEP) would be started in due course to provide direct job opportunities for the youth, the Minister of Manpower Youth and Employment, Joseph Kofi Adda said in Accra on Wednesday.
Areas for consideration include agriculture, agro-processing, small and medium scale manufacturing and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), among other things.
Speaking at a day's final conference on the National Youth Policy, Mr Adda said in pursuit of this the National Youth Council (NYC) would from this year strengthen the operations of its youth centres throughout the country to promote youth sports, recreation and provide counselling services in career development.
The conference was aimed at giving a final blessing to a "Policy Document on Youth Development and Empowerment" that would not only stand the test of time but also meet the aspirations of the youth of Ghana. The National Youth Policy (NYP) statement seeks to nurture and develop the youth of Ghana into people with self-confidence, high-level of education and equipped with life skills, strong spiritual and moral values and discipline for positive self and accelerated national development.
The Policy would also provide a framework with a set of realistic guidelines from which action programmes and services could be developed to facilitate youth involvement in the national development effort. Mr Adda noted that one of the immediate things that would be done after promulgation of the Policy would be the development of an action plan to effectively implement it and also tackle in earnest the revision of the National Redemption Council (NRC Decree) and lead to the passage of a new National Youth Council Bill.
The new Bill, he said, would reflect present trends in youth development work and pave the way for collaborative work by the NYC with other development partners.
Mr Adda noted that some of the major problems of the youth were lack of requisite skills and entrepreneurial know-how to access jobs in the labour market.
However, he said, "their strength and power, innovativeness make it imperative for positive nurturing to influence development of the nation".
He said a total of 27,000 unemployed youth had been trained and assisted with micro-credit to operate on their own under the Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) programme.
Centres for Employable Skills (ICCESS), a community-based project, would operate 76 skills training centres for disadvantaged youth across the country.
Only 2.4 billion cedis out of a total of 50 billion cedis National Youth Fund, established to provide capital for skilled youth groups and individuals to set up private enterprises had been accessed. Mr Adda said with the fund now transferred to the Ministry, processes would be speeded up to enable potential young entrepreneurs to benefit from it.
He acknowledged that effective youth development and empowerment required resource-based interventions for which the Government alone could not bear the cost and called on development partners to help accelerate youth development in Ghana.
Mrs Majorie Beeko, Deputy Chairman of NYC Board of Trustees, said essential needs of the youth should determine the programmes and projects designed for them and not the other way round.
"Their concern should be given some thoughts as we dialogue. It is imperative that we undertake a mapping exercise to give a comprehensive overview of all major youth development initiatives currently underway by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, donors and NGOs among other organisations", she said.
She called for a fair distribution of resources such that no one area was overly endowed with resources while other critical areas had little or no access to resources.
"Such a baseline will not only tell us where we are but to help us plan strategically for efficient resource allocation and maximum impact," Mrs Beeko said.