The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has described the YouStart initiative being pursued by the government as a game-changer geared towards accelerating job creation.
He said it formed part of efforts by the government to kick-start an entrepreneurial state as it sought to remove the primary impediment to the growth of enterprises in the country — access to credit.
According to him, the initiative also incorporated the broader vision of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda under the Ghana CARES ‘Obaatan Pa’ programme.
“By working in tandem with our international development partners and financial institutions, an unprecedented GH¢10 billion will be committed to supporting entrepreneurship over the next three years.
“Over the next three years, the government will commit up to GH¢1 billion annually to the YouStart, while development partners and financial institutions will complement it with close to GH¢2 billion and GH¢5 billion, respectively,” Mr Ofori-Atta said at a Springboard Youth Dialogue in Cape Coast in the Central Region.
Essentially, he said, the YouStart would serve as a vehicle to support the youth to develop commercially viable businesses, gain access to capital, training, technical skills and mentorship to enable them to establish and operate their own businesses.
“This rich tapestry of coordinated support is meant to ignite and unleash our young people's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. It will also mark a conscious departure from job seeking to job creation and job ownership.
“We are nurturing a self-confident and business savvy generation that will leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for economic transformation.
“With the anticipated multiplier effect of YouStart, we will become an entrepreneurial nation, with a great army of curious, competent and compassionate actors empowered to conquer opportunities at home and beyond. That is our goal, and with God on our side, we will accomplish it,” the minister added.
According to him, the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) and partner financial institutions would be the implementing arms of the YouStart initiative.
Mr Ofori-Atta identified the lack of funding and insufficient partnership with industry as some of the challenges affecting the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Business Incubator programme and said through the YouStart initiative, the NEIP would provide the requisite support and also promote the establishment of new businesses within the Cape Coast municipality and the Central Region as a whole.
“We will continue to support the private sector to expand and provide employment opportunities for our people. We will prioritise the completion of ongoing projects in the health, educational and housing sectors to drive social mobility and transformation.
“We will continue to ramp up our revenue mobilisation effort to enable us to secure quality living standards. We will continue to subject all public expenditure to thorough justification, in line with the PFM Act, to ensure value for money for every cedi spent,” he said.
On the road sector, Mr Ofori-Atta further said the government would pursue an aggressive road construction programme to connect communities, markets and people, while advancing the cause of digitalisation to modernise the economy for accelerated development.
He added that the government would promote Science, Technology and Innovation programmes to build competencies for a resilient future.
A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr John Kumah, also said the 2022 budget was anchored on job creation for the youth, the abolition and review of taxes and the introduction of a single tax that would accelerate growth in digitalisation, entrepreneurship and infrastructure.
“As a government, we are committed to supporting the creation of one million jobs over a three-year span. Our approach to realising our job creation goal is centred on three pillars — improving access to finance and market, creating linkages for youth entrepreneurs and revamping institutional arrangements and skills development, entrepreneurial support and business advisory,” he said.