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29.09.2005 General News

300 Youth business plans waiting for approval

By GNA
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Kumasi, Sept 29, GNA - About 300 business plans submitted to the Kumasi Metropolitan Youth Office of the National Youth Council (NYC) for approval to access the Youth Development Fund to enable the applicants set up their own businesses are locked up because the NYC Board which should approve the applications has not met for the past one year. Mr Kwaku Kyei, Executive Director of Adinkanfo Progressive Foundation, an NGO, who disclosed this, said the NYC attributed this to the change of Ministry.

Contributing to a Focus Discussion on conditions for social accountability in Ghana in Kumasi on Tuesday, Mr Kyei described the situation as very serious considering the present youth unemployment situation and called for quick action in the matter. The programme organized by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) was part of an ongoing diagnostic study being conducted by the Centre on conditions for social accountability in Ghana.

The study also seeks to examine the current enabling environment for citizens to demand social accountability from government as well as contribute to development proposals to improve conditions for social accountability in Ghana.

The participants were drawn from NGOs, Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), women's groups, government organizations and the media.

Mr Kyei wondered why the Government should spend a colossal sum of 129 billion cedis on the rehabilitation of the Peduase Lodge, while the Youth Fund intended to cater for the numerous unemployed youth in the country was only 50 billion cedis and described this as most unfair. Mr Ani-Boye Fofie of the Kwabre Civic Club expressed concern about the behaviour of district assemblies who were not proving to be customer friendly and said it accounted for the difficulty in seeking information from the assemblies.

He said until recently the Kwabre district assembly was collecting 120,000 cedis as health insurance fees from prospective developers before processing their building documents.

When the basis for the collection of the money was challenged, the assembly then changed it to a development levy, he added. Mr Kojo Asante, Legal Policy and Governance Officer of CDD, said social accountability prevented the condition for speculation. He said the CDD started studies since March, this year into whether there was an enabling environment in the country for social accountability.

The studies, Mr Asante said, were conducted in Greater Accra, Ashanti and the Northern regions, pointing out that for several years, criticism had come from the citizenry of their non-involvement in decision-making in the country hence the study.

The participants called on the Government to give meaning to the decentralization process to allow for grassroots participation. They asked NGOs and CBOs to set the tone for transparency and accountability by being transparent and accountable to their members. The participants who advocated for the building of capacity for the NGOs and CBOs also called for the involvement of chiefs in government programmes, particularly, development projects to enable them become part of development process.

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