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Implement National Entrepreneurship Programme with transparency, government urged

By D.I.
Laary, GNA

Accra, July 29, GNA – 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.

GNA

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