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NUGS Backs 2022 Budget

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The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) have stated that the Budget and Economic Policy Statement of the Government of Ghana presented to parliament last week addresses their concerns and has therefore called on parliament to approve it.

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This was contained in a press statement issued yesterday, 25th November, 2021.

The statement was signed by Yiadom Boakye Emmanuel as NUGS President, Christian Armah Philip of USAG, Stephen Kwasi Acquah of GUPS, Osborne Opoku Sarfo as Regional SRC Rep., Jacob Yeboah Boamah GRASAG F.C Rep., Abdul Manan Dimbie as TTAG President and Faustina Aikins as NAHSAG President.

They stated that since the presentation of the 2022 budget statement and economic policy presented by the Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, 17th November 2021 on the floor of Parliament, the National Union of Ghanaian Students has observed various public discussions and commentary on the statement and economic policy.

They said that after studying the 2022 budget and isolating portions of the budget that relates to Ghanaian students and youth in general, they deem it necessary to make a number of remarks, proposals and advice to government as well as the legislature; who are scheduled to make a vote on the budget to the Ghanaian student and the public in general.

They applauded the government for removing all road tolls which had contributed to a lot of inconveniences since it created unnecessary traffic on roads among several other disincentives to road users.

”We call on the government to as a matter of urgency employ the affected workers,” they stated.

They stated that according to the government, E-levy is a new tax measure that will be applied only to the originator of transactions on electronic payments, which includes Fintech platforms, online banking and mobile money platforms.

(Below is the rest of the statement).

“A new measure, according to the government is aimed at raising funds to relieve the country’s debt situation which has escalated as a result of COVID19 with the various challenges so the decision to look internally to raise revenue to cater for certain aspects of the economy is a step in the right direction. However, we would also want Government to give us firm assurance and commitment that the revenue that will be generated as a result of the E-levy will be used to tackle the things stated in the budget, which includes the YouStart Initiative, road construction, developing the digital space of Ghana and particularly the development of Basic Education in the country amongst several others.

The YouStart initiative is of great interest to the youth and Ghanaian Students at large. Lots of young entrepreneurs spread across the various campuses in our tertiary institutions are in dying need of a boost to grow their young business. It focuses to empower youth entrepreneurs and young individuals with business ideas to expand them and start their businesses respectively. A push which we believe would go a long way to reduce the growing unemployment situation in the country.

We would like to urge the government to judiciously allocate the resources, ie. taking into consideration the poor and needy youth who really need this push to develop their imaginative businesses into reality but not a selected few especially on partisan merits. The above we(Student Union) would be monitoring closely at the start of the initiative, having received assurances from the Finance Ministry that the policy would toe in that direction. We would like to admonish government to do more stakeholder engagements and public education on the E-levy in order to relieve fears that have been expressed on some of the impact of the levy to be able to undertake the planned initiatives for the coming year like the YouStart Initiative.

Another issue about the 2022 budget that must be commended is the decision by banks in partnership with financial institutions to invest 10 billion into youth entrepreneurship to help young people start their businesses. Under this arrangement, the youth can go to banks and take loans at low interest rates and not have to use collateral. The leadership of the Students Unions highly commends Government for this bold intervention which will help reduce the issue of unemployment in this country and will ensure that young people after completing their education will get access to funding. This for us is one of the biggest intervention we have seen in the fourth republic to address an issue of ultimate importance to the youth unemployment.

The decision to set up a university endowment as part of YouStart is spot on and novel. We cannot wait for this to be rolled out and for students to benefit from this. Government as a matter of urgency must fast-track the progress towards initiating YouStart and we would closely monitor it to ensure there is transparency in the disbursement of the funds. Government in the 2022 budget has forecasted a lot of things that seeks to prepare the Ghanaian youth for the future. This ranges from providing infrastructure and championing skills development. Already, we have seen progress in the development of the Youth Resource Centers which are already at various stages of completion. Government also intends to construct new centers in the new regions. The Youth Resource Centers consist of the following facilities; eight-lane athletic track, FIFA standard football pitch, tennis court, basketball court, handball court, fully furnished gym, counseling unit, ICT section, entrepreneurship centre and a restaurant.

We welcome all this intervention and we can only start for more. Lastly, the Union would also want to appeal to the Government through the Education ministry to take a critical look at the development of Basic Education in the country. The Union in our own little resources as executives embarked on a “NUGS FIX IT CAMPAIGN” through which we donated packets of roofing sheet, blocks, cement and other building materials to Yonso Islamic Basic School, Mampong Municipal, Ashanti Region and the New Nyanyano Kojo-Oku Basic School in the Central Region respectively to make their infrastructure fit for purpose. Due to how pertinent we are in relation to Basic School development, The Union together with other NGOs presented a petition to Parliamentary Select Committee on Education on the implementation of the “Education Spike Campaign” aimed at promoting investment in Public Basic Education to improve upon the quality, as commercialization adversely impacts on its access, equity and standards in the pre – tertiary education. We would like to draw the government’s attention to the many underdeveloped basic schools in the country in terms of infrastructure and teaching and learning materials particularly the provision of textbooks to the basic schools for the new curriculum which has been in full practice for almost 2 years now.

The Ministry of Finance together with the education ministry should allocate budget to address this challenging concerns at the basic level. Again, we would be very pleased to hear the Government pay the long overdue outstanding six months arrears of Teacher Trainees’ across the 46 Public Colleges Of Education in the country. This is to help alleviate the hardships on Trainees particularly those undertaking their Teaching Practices (Out- Program Segment). In conclusion The National Union of Ghana Students is of the view that 2022 budget addresses the concerns of the Ghanaian youth which includes the following; access to funding to start their businesses, reduction in Ghana’s debt, promoting private sector access to capital among several others.

We call on parliament as part of its oversight to interrogate the budget and to pass it. We will also like to encourage the Ghanaian youth to take full advantage of the YouStart initiative when it is rolled out and while we also ensure that as students we take full advantage of this initiative. We are grateful for your time our media friends.

Thank you.”

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