An Economist and Research Fellow with the Institute of Fiscal Studies, Dr. Saeed Boakye has called on the government to target people with the best ideas who would apply for the YouStart fund.
Speaking to Naa Dedei on Starr Today, the Economist pointed out that the initiative would help the teeming youth with great ideas and need help to create jobs for themselves and job seekers.
Dr. Saeed further said with all that the government has been engaging in to curb youth unemployment such as NABCO among others, YouStart would be helpful to the Ghanaian youth when implemented well.
“In fact, it’s a policy I have always advocated and should be done well. It should not be small credit loans; it must be a significant amount of money for particularly graduates. But the problem is that in this country if you are not careful when you give funds they will not be repaid. I know these politicians will largely give the funds to their party supporters and these party supporters would consider those monies as free of charge.
“If it can be done well it’s a very good initiative and funds have to be provided for people who have good business plans and based on the business plans they are funded. But the government must ensure that those monies are repaid and those who squander these monies should find themselves in jail. It should not be given to party faithful but any Ghanaian who has correct business ideas and has to be resourced to do that,” he advised.
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta presenting the 2022 Budget to Parliament on Wednesday 17th November, 2021 stated that the YouStart initiative aims to support our youth to develop commercially viable businesses and will be operational by March 2022.
He disclosed that the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and partner financial institutions, will serve as the implementing arms of YouStart adding that Entrepreneurs will be able to apply for support through a dedicated YouStart online portal.
NEIP will also engage our Faith-Based Organizations as partners for the delivery of essential artisanal skills, business competitions, and feasibility studies and introduction to financing institutions with a commitment of up to 10% of GOG contribution to the YouStart Program.
To this end, YouStart is designed to instill proper commercial orientation in the beneficiaries. This will include financial institutions determining the credit metrics and GEA and NEIP providing training support especially for the standardized SME loans.
YouStart will support youth-led enterprises with the following products: District Level Loans under 10 000 GHC after 2-3 months of training, Soft loans of up to GH¢50,000 to help start-ups (in particular by young, graduates and school leavers) and small businesses to expand; Starter packs (Soft loans tied to equipment acquisition) of up to GH¢50,000 for individuals and GH¢100,000 for associations/groups; A standardised loan package of between GH¢100,000 to GH¢400,000 at concessional rates for SMEs through financial institutions.