Delayed funds holds back NEIP programme

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
Delayed funds holds back NEIP programme

The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) which is expected to accelerate job creation in the country has been held back due to delays over the release of funds by the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Although the 2017 budget allocated US$10 million for the programme, the MoF has not released the money to the Ministry of Business Development which is championing the programme.

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Instead, the MoF has added the US$10 million to the 2018 goods and services budget of the Ministry of Business Development for utilisation.

This came to light when the Finance Committee in Parliament met with officials of the Ministry of Business Development to approve the ministry’s 2018 budget estimates.

NEIP objective

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In a bid to reduce the unemployment rate in the country, the government launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) under the Ministry of Business Development to support unemployed Ghanaian youth through training and funding for them to be able to set up their own businesses, while boosting the existing ones as well.

The NEIP is expected to accelerate job creation and provide entrepreneurial Ghanaian youth with a critical alternative to salaried employment.

Consequently, a seed capital of US$10 million was set aside in the 2017 budget for its implementation.

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Implementation period

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Business Development, Mr Joseph Tackie told the committee that the NEIP would be implemented over a four year span.

He said the US$10 million, which had been set aside for the programme, was expected to be used as leverage to raise additional private capital and multilateral funding of US$100 million to support the programme over the four years period.

He pointed out that the modules to be implemented under the programme included a National Early Stage Business Competition; Incubation programmes; Subsidised workspace for young entrepreneurs; NEIP Industrialisation Plan and the Youth Enterprise Fund.

He said the focus of these modules was to create at least 145,000 jobs annually.

Greening business management

The Minister of Business Development, Mr Ibrahim Awal Mohammed, also informed the committee of another programme that it intended to embark on which was the Greening Business Management programme.

This programme, he said aimed at training and equipping the youth with skills and resources to transform vegetable production in Ghana, while at the same time setting them up after the training to be entrepreneurs on their own.

Under the programme, about 1000 green houses were expected to be constructed across the country.

The minister informed the committee that currently, 75 domes had been established at Dawenya as at the end of October, 2017 for the programme.

Outlook for 2018

Touching on its outlook for 2018, the ministry indicated that it intended to promote the development of the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector for job creation and create an overall entrepreneurial culture, especially young businesses and start-ups.

It also pointed out its intentions to increase entrepreneurial capacity of the youth, facilitate the improvement in the ease of doing business in the country and support the development of entrepreneurship training and infrastructure across the country.

For the implementation of the above programmes, the Finance Committee recommended to Parliament to approve the budget estimate of GH¢52.26 million for the ministry.— GB