General News of Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Financial Analyst Sydney Casely Hayford has expressed concern that the recently launched Youth Enterprise Support (YES) Fund, as it is designed, may just end up “putting money in the pockets of the government’s foot soldiers and sympathisers."
Speaking on Joy FM's Super Morning Show (SMS), he said the government is virtually throwing away money with the introduction of YES fund, because other programmes such as Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agencies (GYEEDA) and the Micro Finance and Small Loans Center (MASLOC) that have already been introduced could be strengthened with the amount.
According to him, the 10 million cedis put into the YES fund could be channeled into these already existing projects to achieve the very objectives that the new programme is intended to achieve.
President John Dramani Mahama launched the Ghc10 million YES fund last week as part of activities to mark the International Youth Day.
The fund, according to government, is open to people between the ages of 18-35 who have good business proposals that can yield dividends and create more jobs.
But the introduction of the programme has received several negative comments from people across the political divide.
An entrepreneurship expert and lecturer at the University of Ghana, Samuel Buame said the fund is not likely to succeed because similar and more structured initiatives had failed.
He described as “peanut” the Ghc10 million set aside for the fund.
Mr Hayford in disagreeing with the age limit placed on the programme questioned the ability of young people to be able to appropriately manage the monies which will be given to them adding that “the idea of managing a business at that age will be challenging."
He said the fund should rather be used to support people who are already established in various forms of businesses and are aware of the risks associated with managing one; “that way you know that they have some skill, and they can leverage that skill for something,” he added.
He stressed the need for the Fund to be strictly regulated and managed transparently to enable the public to determine whether their money has been used in something that will benefit them.
"The transparency side of everything we are doing is the most important thing, otherwise our institutions will not get to where we want them to get to."
He said the people who criticize the fund are not against it and that “sitting on the fence and not talking about it will get us nowhere, so we will talk about it and criticise it."
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA) Ras Mubarak, who was on the Super Morning Show, addressed Mr Hayford's concerns by explaining how the start-ups will be regulated.
He said, contrary to Mr. Casely Hayford's suggestion that young people in the age bracket of 18-22 tend to be irresponsible and inexperienced, the programme would succeed because many young people are ambitious and reasonable.
He insisted that the Fund and its management will not be politicised as the financial analyst feared.
Beneficiaries, Ras Mubarak explained, will be selected after they have sent in proposals which will be vetted, and viable ones approved.
A beneficiary is entitled to a minimum of five thousand cedis and a maximum amount of 50,000 cedis.