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The newly launched Business and Employment Assistance Programme (BEAP) by the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) is expected to employ 20,000 youth in Ghana, Vice President, His Excellency Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said.

He added that 10,000 small-scale enterprises will also benefit from the programme.

Speaking at the launch of the programme in Sunyani in the Bono Region on Monday, December 11, 2023, the Vice President said, “Over the next year, an estimated 10,000 medium and small-scale enterprises across various sectors are set to benefit from this programme.”

“Additionally, 20,00 Ghanaian youth will benefit from the implementation of this initiative, this is really big, I am particularly excited about the relief this initiative will provide to the Ghanaian youth,” Dr Bawumia stated.

In attendance was the Bono Regional Minister, Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Chief Executive Officer of YEA, Mr. Kofi Baah Agyepong, among others.

Dr. Bawumia, acknowledging YEA’s commitment, highlighted the agency’s various initiatives: including engaging 21,000 youths in the Community Police Assistants and Community Health Workers module; collaborating with Ghana Digital Centres Limited for the Youth in ICT module; and partnering the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme to train 15,000 youths in business skills.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia also mentioned that the agency has collaborated with the Ghana TVET and the Ghana Energy Commission to train 20,000 artisans – plumbers, tilers, masons, beauticians, fabricators, glazing workers, carpenters, electricians. Under this module, beneficiaries are certified after training and provided with the requisite tools and equipment to set up enterprises of their own.

“The Ghana Business Tracker Survey conducted between May and June 2020 by the Ghana Statistical Service, in collaboration with the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme, indicated that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 46.1 percent of Ghanaian businesses had to reduce wages whereas 4.1 percent of businesses laid-off workers,” he said.

Government initiatives such as the Corona Virus Alleviation Programme-Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS) and COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) have provided financial support in the form of grants and soft loans to Ghanaian businesses to help them mitigate challenges faced as a result of COVID-19.

Despite these initiatives, he said, some businesses have still not fully recovered and need all available assistance to help them get back on their feet.

According to him, some associated problems businesses face still exist – including financial distress, the increase in youth unemployment and chronically low wages, hence birth of the Youth Employment Agency’s Business and Employment Assistance Programme.

“This initiative aims at assisting employers to re-employ laid-off workers and retain existing employees by providing a maximum of GH¢500 per employee as salary support.” Adding that this initiative will provide relief to the Ghanaian youth.

He said: “The youth of this country are our greatest resource, and it is our collective duty to ensure they are well-positioned to make significant contributions in the economic development of our dear nation”.

He averred that President Akufo-Addo’s government has implemented several youth-focused initiatives specifically seeking to address the challenges faced by Ghanaian youth.

“The YouStart programme, one of such government initiatives, was successfully piloted with 70 beneficiaries and an amount of GH¢1.98million disbursed to support youth-led (below the age of 40 years) SMEs. This initiative will be further augmented to effectively assist more youth-led businesses in the coming years.”

He pointed out that government is very much aware of their complaints and concerns, and very committed to creating a favourable business environment for existing and emerging businesses.

Commending the YEA’s commitment, Dr. Bawumia lauded its Board and Management for fulfilling their mandate toward Ghanaian youth.

CEO-YEA, Kofi Baah Agyepong, on his part highlighted the BEAP’s potential – emphasising its alignment with the Akufo-Addo government’s COVID-19 ERP.

He said a substantial amount of GH¢120million has been allocated for BEAP, expected to benefit 10,000 MSMEs and 20,000 young Ghanaians.

Agyepong explained that BEAP, responding to economic challenges, aims to rejuvenate businesses by providing essential support.

The allocated funds will be distributed among MSMEs, each expected to engage a maximum of five employees who will receive a monthly allowance of GH¢500 for one year – thus supporting businesses in recovery and expansion.

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