Justina Owusu Banahene, Bono Regional Minister

The Bono Regional Minister says the growing unemployment situation grappling the youth could be dealt with through entrepreneurship and educational reforms.

Justina Owusu Banahene insists a mandatory entrepreneurship experience for the youth and educational reform that emphasis on Technical, Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) would make the youth employable. 

The Minister was speaking at the inauguration of the Bono Regional Youth Parliament on the motion; "Young People Entering into Employment in Ghana; The barriers and solutions from the youth perspective. 

The event, which took place in Sunyani, witnessed by chiefs, representatives from the district assemblies, state institutions, security services, etc, was organized by the Bono Regional office of the National Youth Authority.

Madam Owusu Banahene said the government sees the issue of youth unemployment and underemployment as a major developmental challenge that requires different approaches to tame it, hence the determination of the government to provide the youth with employment opportunities.

Some audience in the Bono Regional Youth parliament

She explained that the limited job spaces in the private sector could be filled if the structure of the educational curriculum is reformed to aid the preparation of the students to meet the demands of the industries and businesses. 

"Mr. Speaker, a mismatch of skills has been found to contribute to the rising youth unemployment. All levels of education need to be smarter and teach academic skills through internships and apprenticeships to help young people learn things about work that they cannot get in the classroom", she said.

Bono Region Youth Parliament, Minority members

The Bono Regional Minister noted that the government has undertaken various interventions to make the youth get employed. 

These, she said include the introduction of the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to provide temporary jobs for the youth and help them acquire the necessary experience; One District, One Factory to broaden their employment opportunities; Planting for Food and Jobs to make Agriculture more attractive to the youth.

Justina Owusu Banahene, however, intimated that the surest way of combating youth unemployment are through mandatory entrepreneurship experience and skills training via TVET.

Bono Region Youth Parliament, Majority members

"Many of our young people in our tertiary institutions have great business ideas, and if provided with the right nurturing and sensitization, they could easily set up their businesses after school and succeed", she said and urged all stakeholders to be part of the solution. 

The Youth Parliament is an initiative enshrined in the 2010 National Youth Policy of the National Youth Authority (NYA). 

Fati Bamba, Bono Regional Director of the NYA, explained that the initiative provides "the youth with a platform to learn how to express their views, give constructive criticisms, and above all participate effectively in the decision-making process on various developmental issues at the local level".

Fati Bamba, Bono Regonal Director, National Youth Authority

She also said the Bono Regional Secretariat has inaugurated about two-thirds of the youth Parliamentarians in the districts in the former Brong Ahafo Region, and will soon inaugurate that of Bono East and Ahafo Regions.

She further stressed that the Youth Parliament initiative is non-partisan and offers room to the youths of Ghana with different political affiliations, and therefore, urges the members to conduct themselves well during their deliberations to befit the high office of Parliamentarians.

She also noted that with the Youth Parliamentarians knowing what is going on in their communities, they could equally feed their peers with the right information, and potentially, it could avert chaos.

Bono Region Youth parliament leadership (L-R), Godfreda Gyamaa (Majority Leader), Kingsley Asare Aboagye (Speaker), and Emmanuel Best (Minority leader)

The Speaker of the Bono Youth Parliament, Kingsley Asare Aboagye, admitted that the youth would have to add value to themselves by building their capacities and acquiring additional skills to complement the efforts of the other stakeholders in solving youth unemployment.

He added that the motion selected was to help them debate, after which they will issue a communique on their perspective on youth unemployment, barriers, and solutions.

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