When the President indicated that the mid-year budget has plans to create one million jobs for the country, young ones breathe a sigh of relief, as they felt their biggest headache – unemployment – is gradually going to be a thing of the past.
But sad to say, the mid-year budget, presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, largely disappointed. It was same old story. The expectation was that government is going to lay out new solid plans and programmes that will ensure this comes into fruition; but it was same old story of banking hopes on existing programmes which many have concluded is just an outlet to provide jobs for party faithfuls.
According to the finance minister, the one million jobs will be created through existing skills development initiatives under Ghana Enterprises Agency, NEIP, YEA, COTVET, and newly introduced programme dubbed Enterprise and Youth Support Fund (EYSF).
With the EYSF will, government says it set up a “Youth banc” with the aim of financing youth-led start-up businesses across the country. As part of this initiative, an online investment hub will be established for youth across the country to access information for the purpose of establishing businesses. Under this initiative, it is estimated that over 100,000 jobs will be created.
And again, Mr. Ofori-Atta said government will pursue the “Obaatanpa” Youth Entrepreneurship Drive, Ghana Skills and Enterprise Development Project, Student Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Youth in Community Improvement Module, and the Alternative Employment and Livelihood programmes as direct interventions in targeted sectors to help our youth live decent lives and contribute to nation building.
It is important to note that the EYSF is the only initiative which government attached a specific number of jobs to. No mention was made of how many jobs the other interventions will create, except the minister said the total jobs to be created in four years will be one million.
And that is what we think needs clarity. We do not want this to be like business as usual where numbers are just thrown into the air, whereas, the reality on the ground is different. Unemployment in this country is a serious matter which needs concrete and workable plans to address.
Make LPG delivery safe
Following a gas explosion at the Mansco Refilling plant at Atomic Junction, Accra, on October, 7, 2017, which claimed seven lives and injured 132 others, parliament directed a number of action plans to implement an LPG policy on October, 12, 2017.
The Ministry of Energy subsequently directed the National Petroleum Authority, (NPA) to constitute an implementation committee to plan and execute a Cylinder Recirculation Model, CRM which was part of the number of the proposed actions by cabinet.
The CRM policy was aimed at addressing concerns about public safety, product quality, accessibility, availability and affordability. It sought to get 50 per cent of Ghanaians to use LPG by 2030, from a current figure of 25 per cent.
The implementation of the policy has suffered some setbacks. It is against this backdrop that we are glad that at a stakeholders meeting with LPG Marketers Association (LPGMC) at the Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra on Wednesday, the Chief Executive (CE) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid reiterated government’s commitment to the implementation of the Cylinder Recirculation Model.
We are equally happy that members clearly articulated their concerns about the policy and the Paper is hopeful that this will not be one of the numerous talk shops that we have undertaken in this country.
Ghana has unfortunately had its fair share of activities that continue to deplete the environment. The number of explosions recorded at LPG refill plants should be of concern to all well-meaning Ghanaians. This brings to the fore the importance of the CRM which will not only create jobs but guarantee the safety of consumers, marketers and all stakeholders in the value chain. It is, therefore, a policy that must be embraced by all
It is not in our interest that four years after the commitment to implement a cylinder recirculation model, it has still not been done
The Paper is refreshed about the assurance that changes are going to be made within the NPA to give the LPGMC confidence to cooperate with the NPA to see to the implementation of the CRM in the new approach that is being taken this time around.
We think members of the Association must be involved in every step that is being taken. The Paper cautions members of the Association who will be involved in this new implementation agenda to be professional in their dealings and not unnecessarily derail the exercise.
We must all work to ensure that LPG delivery is safe ,affordable and above all reliable.
Let us get this policy off the ground once and for all.