Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

A United States based Economist and lecturer, Dr. Sa-ad Iddrisu, is calling on government to start awarding start up capital to final year tertiary students for them to start small scale businesses. In a response to the current youth unemployment crisis and the killing of the police officer during the bullion van day light robbery, Dr. Iddrisu, believes things may get out of hand if the government doesn’t take immediate action.

Below is the full statement of Dr. Sa-ad Iddrisu circulating on WhatsApp groups:

Government should start offering 10,000ghc as Business Start Up Capital for Final Year Tertiary Students

I wrote a short piece yesterday calling on government to act immediately to address the joblessness of the youth and also wished a Rest In Peace to the police officer who was killed during the bullion van robbery.

Shortly after, many replies poured out to me on WhatsApp groups, and one that caught my attention greatly was the one that asked me to shut up for telling the government to act immediately without offering any solutions.

That was an interesting comment, but I would like to say that it’s the government’s responsibility to fix the country. Therefore, no citizen owes the government any solution(s) being that we relinquished that trust to government upon government every four years through elections.

Also, it’s worth noting that, elsewhere, nations are built on policies from think tanks, academia, research institutions, and the general public. In Ghana, the story is different. Our country is built with policies from party headquarters’ or the presidential candidates homes where only few friends and family are invited for dinner. We live in a country where government’s refuse to adopt solutions to problems formulated by policy think tanks, academia and others. If you find yourself in parliament, then perhaps you would be taken serious when you propose solutions to a national problem. Even with that, it will depend on whether you are a “grade 1 or grade 2”parliamentarian.

Thus, knowing all these sad realities, there isn’t much motivation to offer solutions and policy alternatives to government.

Therefore, it’s not that citizens don’t have solutions to offer the government to address the youth unemployment and other crisis facing the nation. It’s a question of whether the government will listen and implement them or the opposition parties will adopt such policies and implement them properly for the development of the country when they win power? That’s part of the reasons why you find citizens resorting to only complaints and demonstrations rather than offering solutions to government.

If I haven’t read policies offered by citizens, at least, I have read policies offered by Imani Ghana, university professors and even that of “We the People Matter Movement”. Imani Ghana even struggled with government officials and sometimes landed in courts, just to give advice on best practices to government. Yet, we are all witnesses to how past and present governments have behaved, with some officials taking things personally against Imani Ghana representatives.

As then Executive Director of “We the People Matter Movement”, from 2019 to 2020, I led a team to offer policy alternatives on ex-gratia, healthcare, local governance, corruption, among others. All were published in various newspapers and online platforms. Yet, we are all witnesses to how things are in Ghana!

That being said, I reflected upon a quote that I once read stating, “change only takes place through action.” As a result, this quote motivated this reply to my initial thoughts yesterday, to expand my perspective to discover ways that government can enact action to mitigate the youth unemployment crisis.

There are more than hundred ways to deal with the rising youth unemployment problem which many citizens may have in mind, but two solutions keep crossing my mind at the moment:

1. Corporate Tax incentives: Government should offer immediate tax incentives to small and large businesses that are able to hire fresh graduates from the tertiary institutions. Those we may call “first time workers”. Government can offer these tax incentives in grade levels, depending on the number of hires by any company. Although this will affect government revenue due to decline in corporate taxes in the short run, it can be compensated with income taxes, reduction in crime and increased productivity, thus, GDP in the long run.

2. Start up capital: It is obvious that existing companies can’t hire all yearly graduating students from the tertiary institutions in the country. Government needs to offer incentives to fresh graduates to develop a business mindset and be able to start their own businesses. Government can offer all final year students a suggested amount of 10,000ghc or less to start a business after graduation. However, this may be dependent on government ability to fund it taking into account that we have about 250,000 students graduating yearly from our tertiary institutions. In case of budget constraint, government can offer only a selected percentage of final year students the determined amount as a start up capital. This will serve as a business capital to many students to start small businesses immediately after graduation. Students could apply for this funding by creating business proposals and models. This could serve as a prerequisite in awarding the funds.

Many will ask, where will the money come from for solution 2? In response to this, if we can get money to buy V8 Land Cruisers and pay hefty salaries and emoluments for government officials yearly, then we can get money to fund businesses for graduates who can’t get access to bank loans due to lack of collaterals. It’s all about priorities, and as the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. The end result should be to look at the trickle down effect of this policy on the economy in the long run. Furthermore, everything cannot be explained in this short article, but it is doable if more thoughts are generated into it as a nation.

Finally, I will edge the police administration to secure bulletproof vests for our police officers on duty. In America, some ordinary citizens are even able to buy bulletproof vests for personal use, how more a whole police force of a nation? Police officers should not be dying in the hands of robbers like chickens.

Thank you!

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