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Youth unemployment report launched in Tamale; CSOs worried about authorities little attention to youth issues



A 26 page study report chronicling youth unemployment in the Northern Region has been launched in Tamale by Center for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID),  a local nongovernmental organizations in partnership with IBIS in Ghana. The study  conducted by CALID looks at the effects of youth policies in Ghana from successive governments in the northern region where unemployment seems to be on the rise.

The 26 page document contained details of problems of government programs and intervention on youth since the establishment of the then National Youth Employment Program (NYEP) in 2006 which has since 2012 morphed into Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Development Agency (GYEEDA).  CALID says it will be present the report to government through the ministry of Labour and Employment in Accra for consideration.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including some state agencies in the northern region have criticized the Youth Employment Authority (YEA) for paying lip service to issues affecting the youth. The consultant of the study, Dr Abubakari Abdulai who presented the study explained that the report focuses on four key areas.

The report he said was to establish the extent of youth awareness or exposure to government youth policies and other pro-poor policies, to determine the current level of engagement of the youth with state institutions that have oversight responsibility over the youth , especially GYEEDA, the Youth Authority (NYA) , Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), MMDAs and the YES program.

It was also to determine the capacity of GYEEDA, NYA and RCC to implement youth policies and review the national youth policies and programs (YES, GYEEDA) with the aim of: a) identifying opportunities for improving the livelihoods or quality of lives of the youth in the northern region, including collating and documenting information on resources allocations for these youth programs, and, b) identifying and isolating challenges that serve, or may serve, as barrier to youth participation in the programmes in the northern region.

Dr Abdulai challenged both CSOs and the media to intensify their efforts in championing the cause of the youth. The CSOs at the launch expressed their misgivings about the lackadaisical attitudes of YEA officials towards issues bothering the unemployed youth in the region. According to them, the country is sitting on a time bomb because the youth are being left in the hands of politicians who only use them for their parochial interests.

The CSOs drawn from youth centered non-governmental organizations as well as some state agencies commenting on the study said they want agencies responsible for the youth to show serious commitment. They expressed disappointment that worried that after all the efforts they made to help governments address numerous problems confronting the youth, some state agencies are thwarting their efforts.

The CSOs suggested that instead of churning out more models, YEA should rather be interested in creating opportunities for the youth after training. Representatives of some youth groups present at the findings warned that, politicians, government officials and successful business men risk being attacked, if officialdom continues to pay deaf ears to youth problems.

Others also expressed worry about the current phenomenon, where if one is not aligned to a political party, one cannot get job.They further suggested that managers of the Youth Enterprise Support program (YES) should develop a component for training the youth on proposal writing.

The Northern Regional Director of the NYA, Ziblim Shaibu appealed to the youth not to lose hope assuring that with the necessary support, the NYA will deliver on its mandate. He entreated various youth groups in the region to register with the authority to enable it promote their interest when opportunity avails itself.

However, no single official from the YEA was present at the presentation of the findings to stakeholders, though they were duly invited.

The Executive Director of CALID, Mr Mohammed Awal Bapio said the study sought to identify possible gaps in the Youth Policies for programming and interventions in Ghana.

Youth unemployment he noted, was a threat to national security because unemployed youth are likely to indulge in social vices such as armed robbery, prostitution and victims of political violence.

CALID recommended to government that all youth programs and interventions are run or coordinated by the NYA because it serves as a link between the youth and the central government. It also observed that the implementation of a youth action plan is almost two years behind schedule and called on government to release funds for its implementation

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