YOUTH COALITION MEETS MINISTER FOR YOUTH AND SPORTS
The Ghana Youth Development Enhancement Project Coalition (GYDEP), led by FOSDA, paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Hon. Isaac Kwame Asiamah, to congratulate him on his appointment as the sector Minister and also share the expectations of the coalition and the youth of Ghana in general in line with the NPP party Manifesto. Present at the meeting were Hon. Pius Enam Hadzide, the Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr Frank Quist, Chief Director and Dr Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, Technical Advisor to the Minister.
Other Coalition members included Youth Empowerment for Life, Tamale, Centre for Development and Policy Advocacy, Nkonya Youth Association, National Network of Youth Groups in Governance and the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisation. Others were Yendi Youth Coalition, Youth ICONS Ghana, Bongo Youth Association and the Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development.
Members of the delegation included Mrs Theodora Williams Anti, GYDEP Coordinator, Ms Augustina Quaynor, Ms Juwairiah Korkor Narh, Joseph Tetteh, Abubakari Jafaru, and Kamaldeen Habib. The rest were Cosmos Sarpong, Williams Yaw Apuri, Nana Yaw Osei-Darkwa and Abugbila P. N. MacLean.
Hon. Asiamah disclosed that government is considering the establishment of a body, to be known as the Youth Development Authority (YDA) to harmonise and coordinate all government-sponsored youth initiatives and policies. The Minister explained that at the moment all existing government-sponsored youth initiatives were under different ministries, which was making their harmonisation and coordination very difficult. He said even though the National Youth Authority (NYA) should be playing that role, as it stands now, it does not have the constitutional mandate to harmonise and coordinate the activities of government-sponsored youth initiatives. For instance the Youth Employment Agency is under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations; the Youth Enterprise Support (YES), under the Presidency and the Youth in Agriculture, is also under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
He also confirmed government’s intension to establish a Youth Enterprises Fund (YEF) that would provide funding and business development services for businesses owned by young entrepreneurs, especially start-ups. He said the creation of the YDA and YEF, was to translate the New Patriotic Party’s manifesto promise in the 2016 general election into action.
He explained that the YEF was going to be different from the YES, which had no constitutional back.
He said the government was committed to empowering the youth through skills development, job creation and sports to ensure that the youth constitute the major source of human capital for the transformational agenda of the country.
The Minister in a response to the Coalition’s call for the creation of opportunities for young people to channel their youthful energies into creative and socially desirable ends by requiring every district to provide Youth Activities Centres, said the Ministry would collaborate with the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to set up such centres.
On the implementation of the the National Youth Authority Act 2016 (ACT 939), Hon Asiamah indicated that the Ministry is working on the Legislative Instrument (LI) that will guide the implementation of the Act.
Mr Hadzide lauded the Coalition’s efforts in championing the course of Ghana’s youth. He said in other countries, youth initiatives such as the National Service Scheme were under the authority of the Youth Ministry.
On government’s intention to establish a Youth Development Agency (YDA) to collaborate government sponsored youth development initiatives , Mrs Anti said in the opinion of the Coalition: “We are very much in support of a coordinating body to harmonise all government sponsored youth development initiatives. However some consultation must be done to help define the nature and function of this body. The Coalition further recommended that government should rather strengthen and resource the NYA at the national, regional and district levels to play this role to avoid duplication. “We may have to review the NYA Act to give it that mandate.”
She said the NPP’s 2016 manifesto, which promised ‘offering tax incentives to young entrepreneurs to encourage them to initiate start-ups’, was a laudable proposal. She said measures should be put in place to ensure its effective implementation to avoid abuse. “We need robust and indisputable Statistics on youth entrepreneurs/ enterprises as well as youth employment in general for effective implementation,” she requested.
The coalition also urged government to consider the youth agenda in the manifestos of other political parties such as the Convention People’s Party and the National Democratic Congress, since they also contain good ideas for the promotion of the nation’s socioeconomic agenda.