Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture

The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has urged Ghanaians to support the government’s 2022 Budget and Economic Policy Statement.

He believes the budget is a comprehensive policy document that will propel the needed development and create sustainable jobs to mitigate the unemployment deficit in the country under the YouStart initiative.

Dr Awal lamented that issues of infrastructure and job creation has been on the forefront over the years but noted that the Akufo-Addo administration has taken pragmatic measures to tackle them with some policy decisions.

He highlighted the positive impact of the free SHS policy through which he indicated about 1.6 million young Ghanaians have access to secondary education.

Dr Awal said but for the free SHS policy, these 1.6 million children from deprived homes wouldn’t have had access to education.

In addition, he indicated that the government agenda 111 programme to construct district hospitals across the country will send basic quality healthcare to the doorsteps of the people, emphasising that, “So with quality education and quality healthcare, we’re building the productive capacity of the Ghanaian”.

Addressing Journalists in Tamale over the weekend, Dr Ibrahim Awal said the essence of the 2022 budget is to raise adequate funds to support infrastructure development.

“Everybody is crying for roads, schools and hospitals; without money we cannot do that, the budget seeks to do that”, he staed.

Dr Awal added that through the electronic transaction levy (E-levy), the government will generate a minimum amount of 6 billion Ghana Cedis annually and that money will support infrastructure development and youth empowerment. 

Job Creation

The Tourism Minister said the government aims to create a minimum of one million jobs under the YouStart initiative in the next three years and would progressively move from one billion cedis in support of the youth to ten billion by 2024.

“We want to give grants and loans to young people” he announced.

Nevertheless, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister indicated 68 percent of the national population is below age 30, arguing it’s a youthful population and out of about 250, 000 people annually graduating from tertiary education, only 2 percent gain employment into the public sector.

The remaining 98 percent, he added, must find jobs in the private sector and therefore it is the government’s intention through the youth in entrepreneurship to invest, mentor, educate and funding of youth owned businesses.

The government will provide between 30,000 to 50,000 cedis for individual business capitals and SMEs will also receive up to 400, 000 cedis to cushion their businesses.

“So that within three, four years a minimum of one million Ghanaians would have had jobs. Therefore,  I want you the media to help educate our people to rally round and support the government; in the north, we need jobs, we need mentoring, we need support” he admonished.

Meanwhile, responding to the 1.75 percent E-levy, the Minister said the government is listening to concerns of various stakeholders and will take decisions in the best interest of the nation.

He also said the majority caucus in parliament will build consensus with the minority for the approval of the budget in the coming days.