Gov’t commits to building a self-reliant and sustaining economy

Government says it is committed to making Ghana entrepreneurial nation through initiatives and support schemes that will make the economy self-reliant and self-sustaining. 
Ken Ofori-Atta: Photo credit: Information Ministry/Facebook

Government says it is committed to making Ghana entrepreneurial nation through initiatives and support schemes that will make the economy self-reliant and self-sustaining.

The Ag. Coordinator of the YouStart Programme, Mr. Andrew Ameckson, explained that though effects of the COVID-19 were dire, it also presented the country with an opportunity to remodel, innovate and build a more sustainable economy that is self-reliant and self-sustaining, which government is committed to achieve.

He therefore called on the business community to offer needed backing to the GH¢10billion YouStart entrepreneurship programme, which is aimed at supporting Ghanaian youth to develop commercially viable businesses.

The plan is for government to collaborate with financial institutions and provide businesses of Ghanaian youth with the support needed for providing loans to the private sector at concessionary rates (below market rates).

Through the support of banks and other private sector players, beneficiaries will also be provided with access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them to launch and run their businesses.

Speaking at a stakeholder engagement in Accra on Wednesday, Mr. Ameckson said that the programme requires broader support, especially from the business community.

The stakeholders were the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), Private Enterprises Association, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) and Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications.

He said: “A programme of this magnitude and scale cannot be implemented by government without full participation and acceptance by the Ghanaian business community”.

He therefore urged the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) “to take advantage of the YouStart programme and provide other feasible solutions to enable government build a Wealthier, Inclusive, Sustainable, Empowered and Resilient Ghana (WISER Ghana)”.

Mr. Ameckson noted that the YouStart programme will provide opportunity for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to innovate, expand and take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Adding to this, Ms. Patience Arko-Boham – technical lead for the YouStart Programme – said YouStart will create at least 1,000,000 jobs for youths over the next three years by building an entrepreneurial nation.

She said sectors to be supported include agriculture, forestry and fishing, Manufacturing, construction, electricity/gas/water, and information, communication and technology.

Other areas include personal and health care businesses, printing, publishing and allied products, business services (consulting/business supplies), event coordination and management, tourism and recreation, sanitation, local trading (non-import related), and export support.

On behalf of the consortium of banks supporting the programme, Mr. Kwasi Ameko-Amewunoo said they are ready to provide collateral-free loans of up to GH¢500,000 for businesses and ensure success of the YouStart programme.

The loans – which will have a three-year repayment plan, he said – will solve the access to capital challenge that most startups and youth-oriented businesses face in the country, and help create more sustainable jobs.

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