Last Friday, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) – the state agency charged with responsibility for developing and promoting the export of non-traditional products launched two key export oriented prgrammes namely, Youth in Export Programme (YiEP) and Export Project Competition in Koforidua in the Eastern Region aimed at attracting the youth into agriculture for export by making them see the sector as a potentially lucrative business.
The YiEP project being implemented by GEPA in partnership with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) is expected to increase Ghana’s Non-Traditional Export (NTEs) by giving opportunities to the youth to be gainfully employed in the NTE sector which will in turn serve to provide income generation and sustainable livelihood. This measure aims to ignite the passion for agriculture among the teeming youth and imbibe in them a culture of export.
Instructively, such project would also significantly compliment government’s industrialization drive and the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
In a country where unemployment rates remain high and are still the biggest challenge for government to deal with, we view this step as an imperative action and one that deserves commendation. Indeed it is line with an increasingly clear strategy about how the State is creating employment using its agencies such as GEPA to increase the State’s human capacity.
Another example of this is the initiative being championed by the Ghana Insurance College and the National Insurance Commission to train 10,000 unemployed youth as insurance agents with the skills to sell insurance policies on behalf of both life and non-life insurance companies who would enthusiastically use them to increase their market penetration which currently still stands as a meagre two percent of the public.
Even the much maligned National Building Corps has lots of potential if its haphazard implementation can be improved upon. For instance the youth employed as tax collectors, properly utilized can substantially expand Ghana’s leaking tax net and thus greatly increase tax revenues which are still equivalent to just 12 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product, as compared with the average of 25 percent for middle income countries as a whole.
The premise behind such strategy is that it actually increases human capacity, so that the people themselves are able to generate revenue upon which they get paid.
Its importance abounds. For instance, the youth in export programme will increase exports, and from inside those revenues they will get paid. This measure is also reflected in the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme where Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for instance, has tasked a number of volunteers under the NABCO programme to go around collecting taxes from which they can get paid through the revenue they generate.
Again, insurance agents will be able to sell more insurance policies and in similar terms, they will be get paid from those premiums.
The Goldstreet Business believes that this measure is a good idea as long as each such initiative is self-amortizing. We see this as a better option than adding human capacity to government’s wage bill such as that of the civil servants who may not necessarily generate any revenue, but get paid; or simply leaving the people unemployed, making them an economic burden to both the state and the family and friends that would have to continue catering for them.