The Northern Regional Youth Network, an alliance of youth advocacy groups in the region have described the 2023 budget presented by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori Atta on Thursday as insensitive to the plight of the youth in Ghana.
The group was of the view that the budget painted Ghana as a country with no future for its young people but rather interested in pushing the youth to aspire for greener pastures outside the shores of the country.
In a news release signed by the convener of the group, Mr Abdul-Latif Abdul-Rahaman to express their dissatisfaction about the 2023 budget, the group said for a country with about 12 percent of its youth unemployed and 50 percent underemployed, it could not seek to rely on a project such as the YOUSTART to turn the fortunes of the youth around.
The Northern Regional Youth Network is a youth movement focused on promoting peace and security by empowering young people on their rights and responsibilities and creating awareness on matters relating to the wellbeing of individuals and the nation at large.
“The YOUSTART is said to benefit just a meagre 30,000youth when the youth constitute more than 30 per cent of Ghana’s population and government seems to beexcited in experimenting with the future of the youth through projects such the Nation’s Builders’ Corp (NABCO), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme(NEIP) andnow YOUSTART without sustainability plan,” the statement said.
The group noted with concernthe proposal of the government to freeze public sector employment and described the situation as ‘suffocating’ and ‘suicidal’especially for young graduates who had been waiting for several years without jobs.
“All the ‘stabilisation’ plans for revamping the economy outlines hopelessness for the youth and thisis very critical and experts must be interested in joining the teaming youth for the loud cry because it is very clear that there will be intensive and severe hardships on Ghanaians especially young people,” the statement said.
The group predicted that the situation could pose a threat to the security of the country and described as unfortunate the piloting of only 70 beneficiaries for the YOUSTART Programme in the face ofthe high unemployment rate in the country.
“The proposed embargo on public employment comes at a time when alternative interventions are not even available for young people and those available are heavily politicised, which is quiteunfortunate,” the statement said.
The group called onthe government, to as a matter of urgency, reconsider the needs of the youth in its planning in order to secure the wellbeing of the youth in the country.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA