Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday announced that government was working round the clock to convert the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) into skills training programmes.

This, he said, would no longer reduce the youth to perpetual dependants, but equip them with adequate employable skills in both the public and private sectors of the economy.

“We want to move away from the trend where the youth are tied to particular areas of employment without any opportunity to move above their positions.”

Vice President Mahama announced this when he launched the National Youth Policy at Elmina in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem Municipal Assembly in the Central Region, which was attended by national youth groups from 43 African countries and others in the Diaspora.

The Policy, which had the theme: “Towards an empowered youth, impacting positively on National Development” would among other issues allow government to engage the youth and other stakeholders in meaningful partnership to develop appropriate interventions and services for the youth.

It would also provide guidelines for all stakeholders involved in the implementation of policies, programmes and projects for the development of the youth.

The Vice President said the provision of a youth policy would mandate and empower youth groups to fight against social vices such as homosexualism, ‘Sakawa’ (cyber crime), drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and adolescence and reproductive issues.

“The launching of the youth policy would also serve as a wake-up call for the youth to tackle issues in modern agriculture, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and education.”

He appealed to politicians, chiefs and other stakeholders to support the policy to serve and achieve its goals of building a better future for the youth in the coming years.

Vice President Mahama also appealed to the youth to eschew all partisan tendencies that could undermine national unity and continental integration for other countries to follow.

Mrs Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Youth and Sports, called on the youth to use the policy to fight against violent conflicts and other forms of harassment that some of them had been engaged in, in many parts of the country.

She said government’s commitment to youth development was amply demonstrated in the numerous support programmes the education sector was receiving.

Mrs Dansua said government would provide the necessary political will and resources for the smooth implementation of the programme and called on parents, religious bodies as well as the international community to support them to succeed.

Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Central Regional Minister, called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to support the youth Programme to send useful signals to other countries yet to implement theirs.

There were solidarity messages from the United Nations Secretary-General, United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the African Youth Governance Conference.

Source: GNA