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Thursday, May 19, 2022

YouStart programme will support graduates with soft loans

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, says government’s YouStart programme will support young graduates, school leavers and small businesses with soft loans of up to GHC50,000 to expand their enterprises.

The initiative, the Minister stated, would provide youth-led enterprises with a standard loan package of between GHC100,000 to GHC400,000 at concessional rates for Small and Medium Enterprises through financial institutions.

Mr Ofori-Atta said this on Wednesday at the maiden youth school of this year’s new year school and conference in Accra.

Speaking on the topic: “Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial State: Government’s Policy for Harnessing our Population Dividend,” the Minister advised the youth to take advantage of business opportunities to better their lives and contribute to national development.

The YouStart programme was introduced by the government in 2020 as a vehicle to support the youth through the development of commercially viable businesses for access to capital, training and technical skills to enable them operate and be self-sustaining.

The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is implementing the programme in its 16 regional offices-business advisory and resource centres across the country.

Mr Ofori-Atta explained that the initiative would be possible if the electronic-levy was passed, saying, “the levy is an essential tool to increase our tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio from 13 per cent to 16 per cent.”

“The E-levy will help to reduce borrowing and ensure we have the revenue to sustainably invest in entrepreneurship, youth employment, road infrastructure and debts.”

Concerns about the E-levy has energised the government to initiate a stakeholders’ consultation and optimistic that with the desire to develop and create jobs for the teeming youth, the levy will be passed.

Mr Ofori-Atta said: “Our success in entrepreneurship will support us to leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and optimise the opportunities associated with it.”

Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Chief Executive Officer, GEA, said the youth were at the centre of the country’s development, and that it was necessary to put in place support systems to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

She said the Government had invested over GHc one million in supporting young entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and create more jobs for the masses, and urged the youth to visit their offices for supports under the YouStart initiative.

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