Accra, Wednesday 26th January 2022 - The Minister for Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta has assured the Ghanaian youth of the Government’s continuous support through the YouStart initiative.
“For those with business ideas, we will provide you with the requisite support and guidance through the YouStart to grow and expand your businesses” Mr. Ofori-Atta said.
The YouStart initiative under the Ghana CARES programme, is being introduced to ease constraints for existing and aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Mr. Ofori-Atta made this known when he addressed the youth at the 73rd Annual New Year School Conference under the sessional topic: “Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial State: Government's policy for harnessing our population dividend.”
He stated that the empowering the youth who were a driving force for change was a key component of the government's plan.
He emphasised that, the initiative would ensure that skills training becomes much better aligned with the needs of sectors as drivers of future productivity growth and socio-economic transformation.
YouStart initiative, as captured in the 2022 Annual Budget would support youth-led enterprises with, soft loans of up to GH¢50,000 to help start-ups (in particular by young graduates and school leavers) and small businesses to expand, Starter packs (Soft loans tied to equipment acquisition) of up to GH¢50,000 for individuals and GH¢100,000 for associations and groups and a standardised loan package of between GH¢100,000 to GH¢400,000 at concessional rates for SMEs from financial institutions.
“To those who want to enter the private sector, we will leverage the CARES programme to ensure you have the skills, training, network, and credit to support the transition from the "classroom to the workplace".
He noted that, based on available data from the Ghana Statistical Service, 11.5 million people were considered economically active and of this number, 1.5 million people were unemployed.
The Unemployment rate among the population 15 years and older was estimated as 13.4% and was higher for females (15.5%) than males (11.6%). Among the population 15-35 years, the unemployment rate was 19.7% and is even much higher for young adults 15-24 years (32.8%).
“Picture this, in 2020, there were slightly over 547,000 students enrolled in tertiary education. We can assume 100,000 of this cohort completed their education last year. 12. Based on the unemployment stats for young adults (15-24), we can estimate that of these 100,000 young people, about 32,000 are at home unemployed” he added.
The Minister described the situation as "unacceptable," and disclosed that the government has responded with a plan with a clear goal: "to reap the benefits of our population dividend by building an Entrepreneurial State."
According to him, building a sustainable entrepreneurial state can solve our youth unemployment issue through strengthening the links between education and job market stakeholders, providing access to finance, skills, and markets for our young entrepreneurs, resourcing state institutions to support the ambitions of those who want to pursue enterprise and growing the capacity of the private sector to create jobs.
Mr. Ofori Atta stressed on the importance of the e-Levy is as it is inherently linked to the YouStart Initiative.
He said, “We consider the E-Levy as an essential tool to increase our Tax to GDP from around 13% to 16% and above, which would ensure that we have the revenues to sustainably invest in entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure,” adding that the e-Levy also provides a means for all Ghanaians to help support their country and grow this economy as compliant citizens.
He also disclosed that Ghana’s success in entrepreneurship would support her to leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and match the opportunities it presents.
“Africa in 2050 will have a $7-trillion combined GDP with $5.6 trillion in business opportunities by the year 2025. In addition, consumer spending growth in Africa is projected to rise to $2.1 trillion by 2025 and $2.5 trillion by 2030,” he said.
The Minister advised young people to pursue careers as entrepreneurs, as this would contribute to the development of an enterprising nation, which remains the vision of the government. END