Pro-youth think tank condemns hunger strike by unemployed graduates

Youth Entrepreneurs Initiative Ghana (YEIG) has condemned a hunger strike by Graduate Initiative Africa (GIA), an organisation that purports to champion the interests of unemployed graduates in the country.

The group of unemployed graduates say their hunger strike against government, which started on Tuesday January 14, 2014 is to protest lack of job opportunities in the country.

Corporate Affairs Director of the group, Prince Twumasi, in an interview with Citi FM on Monday January 13, 2014 said the hunger strike is to demonstrate their displeasure against government’s failure to provide them jobs or support them to be self-employed.

But YEIG, a pro-youth think tank, notes that even though youth unemployment is high in the country, it is also “a huge problem globally.”

YEIG however, observes that “there is mass evidence of swelling youth entrepreneurial opportunities in principal sectors of our economy such as energy, agriculture, information technology, science and engineering, education, finance, real estate, manufacturing, packaging, supply, trade, transport, distribution and more recently waste management” which are under exploited and explored in the country.

YEIG notes both ordinary Ghanaians and government must work together to explore new job opportunities for the youth.

“It is also incumbent of any well meaning, skilled, prepared and or educated unemployed youth to build strategic alliance within themselves and existing youth employment and entrepreneurial groups as well as local and international business communities in order to incubate, breed and attract new business specimens”, YEIG added.

YEIG also entreated Government to encourage businesses to hire young people by offering tax reliefs and other economic incentives.

YEIG said Government and the business community must also initiate paid internships, adding that “majors and minor enterprises should be directed to limit job selection criteria for example by reducing work experience needed for job qualifications.”

In addition, YEIG is admonishing Government to incentivise youth enterprises to enable them gain at least 30% in real estate, energy, fish farming, rural and urban transport, distribution and retail sectors are owned by the youth through alliance, project finance, venture capital, tax reliefs and provision of start-up equipments.

“Universities must be directed to offer better careers and job-hunting advice to their students and graduates.

“The National Service Scheme must be improved to offer better packages to personnel such as increased earnings and lump sum benefits after completion of service which would serve as start up capital for young graduates.

“The Youth Enterprises Fund and other government assisted venture capital programs should be easily accessible to unemployed graduates with groundbreaking business plans”, YEIG suggests.

Also, the pro-youth think tank says the ministries of education, employment and welfare, youth and sports, gender and children, science and technology must begin to engage youth in the early stages of policy making and throughout implementation, monitoring and review.

YEIG says there must be a collaborative effort to review the educational system to reflect present needs of the Ghanaian society, adding that the basic, secondary and tertiary syllabi must be mutually connected to the skill requirements of the business industry.

“This will help students make informed career choices”, YEIG stressed. 

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