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Youth and jobs at the centre of budget – Finance Minister claims

Source The Ghana Report

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has described the 2022 budget as one focused on job creation and entrepreneurship.

He said the Nana Akufo-Addo led-government was committed to putting in place measures that will help deal with the unemployment situation in the country.

“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all, certainly the issues of youth and jobs will be the center of this budget presentation,” he told Asaase Radio before presenting the budget on Wednesday, November 17.

Mr.  Ofori-Atta noted that creating an entrepreneurial country has been a challenge for the government, and he is hoping to use the 2022 budget to deal with this problem.

Budget brief on jobs

According to the minister, creating job opportunities is close to the heart of President Akufo-Addo.

“We are under no illusions as to the economic challenges facing our country today. How to ease the sufferings of Ghanaians, transform the economy to create
jobs and share the expected wealth across all households, such as providing security and education are what keep the President awake at night,” Ofofi-Atta told Parliament.

According to the minister, the government is bent on tackling the challenges bedeviling efforts at job creation, including access to credit and finance,
regulatory and tax burden, lack of skills as well as mentorship.

Ofori-Atta pledged that the government will redouble its efforts to support the private sector to expand and create jobs, as well.

He added: “This understanding of the youth employment challenge, as well as extensive consultations with stakeholders including youth associations and educational institutions across the country, have led to the development of the YouStart initiative which proposes to use GH¢1 billion each year to catalyze an ecosystem to create 1 million jobs and in partnership with the Finance Institutions and Development Partners, raise another GH¢ 2 billion.”

Unemployment in Ghana

Last week, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ghana (CBCG) accused the government of not responding to the economic plight of Ghanaians and even lacking the basic statistical understanding of the unemployment situation in the country.

“Poverty is grinding down millions of people all over the country, prices of essentials are rising daily, and people are struggling to keep families alive together. Though poverty stares us in the face, it appears lost to those with power,” Most Rev. Philip Naameh, president of the CBCG, told a plenary session in Wa.

Although the Akufo-Addo government boasts of creating more than a million jobs since 2017, there is very little evidentiary support for this claim.

According to global statistical platform Statista, Ghana’s unemployment rate at the end of 2020 stood just under 5%. However, this is often contested by stakeholders and citizens.

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