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Discover innate skills: Ofori-Atta charges youth

BY: Emmanuel Bonney & Abigail Sedinam Kortiah
Ken Ofori-Atta (left), Minister of Finance, addressing  stakeholders at the breakfast meeting
Ken Ofori-Atta (left), Minister of Finance, addressing stakeholders at the breakfast meeting

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has urged the youth to endeavour to discover their innate skills set in order to leverage on them for their development.

He has also encouraged them to be entrepreneurs by creating their own jobs instead of being job seekers.

Mr Ofori-Atta said this at a Consultative Breakfast Meeting on harmonising policies and programmes on youth development in the country.

It was organised by the National Youth Authority.

Reliance

He explained that one thing that frightened him was when there seemed to be a dependence on already packaged jobs in government and other institutions.

“One thing that frightens me is that sense of aspiration where there seems to be a dependence on looking for already packaged jobs in immigration or government,” he said.

Citing his past experience, he explained that about 30 years ago when he wanted to start a business, the country was not a great business environment, with little resources in terms of money. There was no time to be supported by government but what it is that you had in you that said that “is my country, I’m not going to be moved out of it.”

“This is the skill set I have and how I am going to leverage it. After 30 years, the company has a headquarters that manages over a billion equivalent,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

He further indicated that the Ghanaian youth must have a sense of understanding of where they came from and the opportunities that were present.

The Finance Minister added that citizens must appreciate the successes chalked up by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in his youthful days and realise that there was so much energy in the youth.

Event

The meeting was also attended by representatives from agencies under the NYA such as Nation Builders Corps (NABCO), National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).

Others included the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), National Service Secretariat (NSS), National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and representatives from the United Nations (UN) Ghana.

The occasion provided a platform for the agencies to come together and form a collaborative front that projects their objectives for youth development in the country.

Collaboration

Speaking on the need for collaboration among the youth agencies, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NYA, Pius Enam Hadzide, indicated that the major problem in the public sector youth development space was the duplication and fragmentation of interventions by different agencies.

That, he added, was occasioned by the location of different agencies with a youth work mandate under different ministries.

“The result of this has been excessive overlaps in the interventions championed by these agencies and usually an inability to scale these interventions as the limited resources cannot go around to every agency’s satisfaction,” Mr Hadzide said.

The NYA CEO said he had found that the current government was an ally of the youth, citing that the President had made investments in education and interventions “to put the teeming youth to work even to the extent of reserving 58 of the 278 factories under 1D1F for the ownership of youth.”

Way Forward

The Minister for Public Enterprises, Joseph Cudjoe, urged the NYA to put in place proper structures that aligned with the policies and objectives to be attained.

“When the structure is appropriate, it delivers the outcome of the strategy,” he added.

Mr Cudjoe also encouraged the agencies not to only collaborate but coordinate their intentions and activities.

He again advised the youth to venture into entrepreneurship.