Professor Godfred Bokpin, Head of the Finance Department of the University of Ghana Business School, says government’s investment in youth development must go beyond training.
This, he, said would ensure that those who acquire skills get the opportunity to work.
Presenting a youth sensitivity analysis of the 2016 national budget at a two-day workshop organised by the Youth Bridge Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, and funded by Europain Union, Prof Bokpin said most of the interventions for youth development across the various ministries are focused on training.
But there is the need to move beyond that to include follow-ups to ascertain if they are applying the skills provided through the training, he said.
He said there should be tracer studies to find out if the skills in the various areas, including agriculture, trade and industry, tourism, among others, are being used.
He said it is important for the training to be backed by empirical studies that would indicate the areas where growth could be induced and the training aligned accordingly.
Professor Bokpin also urged participants to own the national budget and study it so that they would know the opportunities available for them and take advantage of them.
“The budget affects everyone, even the unborn and must be taken seriously,” he said, adding that youth development is very essential as youth and if not managed well, could turn into the biggest threat to a nation’s security.
Dr John K. Baffoe, Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, said there are specific programmes covered in the budget that the youth could take advantage of.
He cited the Youth Employment Initiative and the establishment of the national vocational training institute as examples.
Dr Baffoe said while the biggest challenge for the youth is unemployment, youth should strive to be entrepreneurial and not wait for government to create direct jobs for them.
He said government’s main responsibility is not to create jobs but to engender a conducive environment to allow the private sector to create the jobs.
Dr Baffoe urged the youth to look into the agriculture sector for opportunities since that is where jobs are.
He noted that Ghana imported about 1.6 billion dollars of agricultural commodities, which presented opportunities for the youth to take advantage of.
He said the sector has not developed because Ghanaians do not see agriculture as a business but as subsistence.
Dr Baffoe said if the agriculture sector is developed, it would have a multiplier effect on the economy.
He urged the youth to make use of projects like the Green House capacity building project that is geared at training youth and farmers and other stakeholders in scientific ways of agriculture.
Mr Peter Aidoo, Deputy Head of the Budget Planning and Preparation Unit of the Ministry of Finance took participants through the budget preparation process with emphasis on stages in the process where the youth could participate in the process.
He asked them to submit inputs into the preparation of the budget when the unit calls for submissions in the coming weeks.