The government will use today’s mid-year budget review (MYBR) to address the myriad of challenges facing the Nation Builders Corps (NABCo) programme that was introduced in 2018 to provide jobs for the teaming youth.
It is expected that it would announce a comprehensive exercise to integrate the beneficiaries into the YouStart programme, another initiative of the government.
The exercise would also help to clear the outstanding arrears owed the thousands of young people engaged under the programme in the coming months, as part of efforts to ease the burden of the youth.
The Finance Minister, Mr Ofori-Atta, is expected to announce these and other youth-centered policies today when he appears in Parliament to present his sixth in the row MYBR.
It comes at a time when the government has started discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a programme to shore up the country’s balance of payment position.
It is understood that the presentation would also seek to rally the nation behind the prospective IMF programme in line with the government’s agenda to fast track the economic recovery and ease the burden on the citizens.
Mr Ofori-Atta is expected to use the opportunity to call for a non-partisan support for the programme, which it said was occasioned by the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine conflict.
He would also assure Ghanaians that the government would work to protect its social intervention programmes in any discussion to improve upon the fortunes of the economy.
Of particular interest would be the free senior high school (SHS) programme, the school feeding programme and the Agenda 111, which have come under serious criticism in recent times, following concerns over expenditure pressures.
People familiar with the review process said Mr Ofori-Atta would announce measures to protect those programmes from any expenditure cuts as part of a broad strategy to insulate the vulnerable from the fallouts from any fiscal consolidation exercise.
He would also reiterate the need for perspective to the challenges facing the country, with emphasis that until the COVDI-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine crisis derailed the government’s agenda, the government was on course to building a sound economy that could stand the test of time.
Consequently, the minister is expected to call on Ghanaians to support the government as it navigates the tough challenges of bearish commodity prices, record-high global inflation and weak growth amid growing concerns of debt pressures.
The support is needed to stabilise the economy and improve upon their living conditions.
Announced in the 2022 budget, the YouStart programme is a novelty by the government to promote entrepreneurial activities and provide jobs, particularly for the youth.
It is the government’s special purpose vehicle to provide funding and technical support to the youth and youth-led enterprises to assist them start, build and grow their own businesses.
Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament earlier this year that the government, in collaboration with the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, the Ghana Enterprises Agency, faith-based organisations, and financial institutions, will provide loan packages ranging from GH¢50,000 – GH¢500,000 to youth-led enterprises and Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) under the YouStart initiative.
He said such businesses would also be supported with technical skills, training as well as mentoring, to enable them develop commercially viable enterprises.
The minister was optimistic that these would lead to an increase in economic activities and contribute to the reduction in the cost of living as incomes are earned and output is produced.
Sources said the integration of the NABCo personnel into the programme would help to strengthen it while addressing the issues of allowances that has long bedeviled that programme.