Government has been urged to show transparency and inclusiveness in the implementation of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovative Plan to guarantee its success and help fight corruption linked to similar initiatives in the past.
Managers of the Programme seeking to tap talents of Ghanaian youth towards economic growth have been enjoined to publish names of all beneficiaries and their expenses periodically in order to enhance transparency, probity and accountability.
Mr Prosper Afetsi, President and Founder of Foundation for Generational Thinkers (FOGET), a youth empowerment oriented nongovernmental organisation, made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Saturday.
He lauded efforts by successive governments to come out with initiatives aimed at creating sustainable job opportunities for Ghanaians, especially the youth.
He welcomed the National Entrepreneurship and Innovative Plan (NEIP) saying it is a significant one that would utilise and enhance talents of young Ghanaians towards rapid economic growth.
However, he said: “One critical observation regarding past initiatives for jobs opportunities for the youth has been the challenge of implementation.”
“We are calling on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to impress upon the management of the newly established initiative, NEIP, to ensure that names of all beneficiaries and their expenses are made public periodically in order to enhance transparency, probity and accountability.”
He said promoting transparency in the implementation of the programme would serve as a viable weapon to fight corrupt practices which have been associated with the implementation of various national youth employment programmes by previous governments.
Managers were also advised to avoid the temptation of making the initiative, intended to promote growth and development of entrepreneurship and accelerate job creation, to be seen as meant for only party faithful or political allies.
“The new NEIP should be seen as a national agenda, which is a multi-pronged approach aimed at creating the conducive and business-friendly environment to stimulate enterprise activities and provide integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses that would in turn generate employment for the teeming youth of Ghana.”
The programme is seen as government’s primary vehicle for supporting start-ups and small businesses who would receive financing and business development services, secure markets and tap into a wide supply chain and network.
It is estimated that $10 million seed money for the NEIP would be leveraged to raise more money from private sources and public organizations to the tune of $100 million to fund its programmes.
“But we are worried that several of such programmes had been initiated by previous successive governments yet there is no evidence to show for those investments touted to be meant for the youth,” Mr Afetsi said.
National projects such as YES, GYEEDA, NYEP, LESDEP were being introduced in the past to empower the youth, he noted, but several of them failed to meet the purpose for which they were established.
“Let’s ask ourselves, how many youth got the opportunity of being employed under these national programs and where is the evidence,” he asked, “Huge sum of tax payers’ money is sunk into the establishment of these national programmes and still youth unemployment in the country keeps rising”.
“It is utterly strange sometimes when you read in mass media platforms where past governments claim to have created a total number of 60,000 and 20,000 direct and indirect employments for the teeming unemployed youths,” he said.
He advised the youth this time round to take advantage of the new programme to source funding to create jobs but demand pertinent questions from officials.
He urged the government to put in place effective monitoring mechanisms to ensure funds meant for the programme did not end up in the pockets of private individuals.
“We urge the media to follow-ups on these programmes with keen interest and expose corrupt officials misusing their positions to enrich themselves,” he said.
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