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13.10.2005 Business & Finance

Network calls for efforts to create more jobs

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Ho, Oct. 13, GNA - The Volta Region Network of Governance Issues Forums (GIFs), a deliberative initiative of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), has recommended increased private and public sector efforts to create more jobs in primary industries to solve youth unemployment in the region.

The recommendation was contained in the network's "Draft Position Paper on Youth Unemployment" in the region, discussed by District Chief Executives, Presiding Members, Planning and Budget Officers of six pilot district Assemblies in the region and regional focal persons and district facilitators of the network at Ho on Wednesday. "The Network believes, creating more quality jobs in the region's major economic sectors can strengthen its ability to be more productive and entice the youth to stay and work within the region", the Position Paper indicated.

It identified agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, arts, crafts and textiles as the areas that must engage the attention of stakeholders committed to solving youth unemployment in the region. "Against the background of the region's comparative advantages in agriculture, tourism and crafts," the Network recommends "using some of the budget allocation to the region to encourage the youth among others to undertake modernized vegetable farming because of the short maturity period and ready market for them." It said serious attention should also be given to the canning of tomatoes, mangoes, meat and fish products as well as the creation of industrial areas within the various area councils in the districts and creation of land banks.

The Position Paper, recommended reforms to primary, secondary and tertiary curricula within a national scope to reflect courses relating to agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and arts and crafts whose potentials for youth employment are high. Other recommendations included the construction of dams and hand-dug wells for irrigation, providing incentives such as easier access to land, infrastructure, lower interest rates on loans for companies that employ the youth.

It also recommended for the simplification of procedures for accessing and reducing overhead cost of projects in agriculture, tourism and crafts that sought to provide economic resources and opportunities for youth employment.

To ensure prompt action on the observations and recommendations, the discussants constituted an action committee comprising Planning Officers of the six pilot districts, Regional Focal persons and District Facilitators of the GIFs to work out modalities for tackling issues raised.

Officials from the pilot districts briefed the meeting on their respective programmes to address youth unemployment, the difficulties militating against achievement of their goals and how they proposed to deal with such bottlenecks.

The focus of their presentations was on the high defaulting rate in the payment of loans under the various poverty reduction packages. A Research Officer of IDEG Mr Peter Fiamor, advised that actions aimed at addressing youth unemployment should be feasible and workable. He said the aim of IDEG through the GIFs was to engender public interest in discussing and taking action on issues that affect them and agreeing on how to deal with them. 13 Oct.05