Story: Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah & Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has decided to establish a fund that is geared towards supporting members of the youth wing of the party who are desirous to either go into farming or learn a trade of their choice in the various regions.
In the next couple of months, the fund would be officially launched in Sunyani, the capital of the Brong Ahafo Region, to kick-start the Youth-In-Agriculture and Skills Training Programme for the teeming youth of the NDC in the respective regions.
Mr Ludwig Hlodze, the National Youth Organiser of the NDC, who announced this at an NDC Brong Ahafo Regional Youth Forum at the Auditorium of the Sunyani Polytechnic at the weekend, further indicated that already an agricultural pilot project was underway in Ho, the Volta Regional capital, where maize had been cultivated on a large scale.
The forum was on the theme,”Unite! We Must!!, for a Better Ghana Agenda”
Under agriculture, Mr Hlodze explained that Agriculture Mechanisation Centres would be established in the various regions, where tractors would be purchased for the youth, who would be encouraged to go into block farming to produce food for the country .
For the skills training, Mr Hlodze said the party would pay for those who wanted to learn any trade or business enterprise of their choice, adding that the programme was designed to economically empower both the young male and female of the party in the regions.
“So I want the regional youth executives to identify those who want to go into farming or learn a trade and by that we would be able to plan ahead of time, since we cannot always depend on the central government for all our needs all the time”, Mr Hlodze advised.
He further advised them to take the programme very seriously so that there would be food security in the country as envisaged by the NDC thereby, contributing to the “Better Ghana” agenda of President John Evans Atta Mills’s administration.
According to the NDC National Youth Organiser, a recent fund-raising meeting organised by the youth wing of the party in the Ashanti Region yielded about Gh¢70,000 which he described as very encouraging and, therefore, gave the assurance that more of such meetings would be held in the other regions.
He said, gone are the days when the youth of the party relied on District Chief Executives (DCEs) for stipends, saying “How long can you depend on the DCEs for your survival. A time may come that a DCE’s secretary will tell you his boss is not in when you get there”.
Mr Hlodze stressed that under his leadership as the National Youth Organiser, such behaviours would not be encouraged as he promised at the time of his election but rather he would ensure that better programmes were undertaken for the economic empowerment of the youth.
However, he noted that all the laudable programmes and projects that would be embarked upon would not materialise if there was no unity among the youth, saying that by 2012 the young people of the party would have been economically strong and encouraged to show their loyalty for the NDC party.
Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe, the Central Regional Minister, who also addressed the gathering advised that those who would be roped into the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) should use whatever money they would receive to either continue their education or learn a trade.
The Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Alex Segbefia, stressed the need for the youth to exercise patience and come along with the government to battle the challenges that it inherited from the previous administration, adding that one and a half years was too short a time for the government to satisfy everyone.
He said those who wanted to criticise the government ought to do so constructively and avoid resorting to the media on any trivial issue instead of settling matters amicably indoors.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Deputy Minister of Information, pointed out that without the youth the NDC could not survive and, therefore, called on the regional executive of the party to embark on projects and programmes that would benefit the party.
He gave the assurance that by the end of August those who had applied for loans under the MASLOC, especially the women, would receive them with one and a half per cent interest as against the previous three per cent interest on the facility.
According to Mr Ablakwa, there was no need for the regional executives to wait for Accra to come down to solve the problems at the grassroots, adding that, “everytime should be a time for party work but not only when elections were due”.
The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, whose address drew applause from the youth disclosed that the current government inherited about ¢100 Trillion from the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP), and that the government was doing everything possible to put things in order and, therefore, urged the youth to exercise restraint.
Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, also appealed to the youth not to make statements that would destroy the party, saying, “Don’t let us destroy the party with our mouths because no matter the situation, we can find solutions.
He declared, “Do not let us joke with the power that we have struggled to grab from the NPP or else we will be doomed when they recapture the reigns of government”.
Present at the forum were the Brong Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, Alhaji Baba Gausu, the NDC Regional Organiser and Mr Mohammed Seidu, the NDC Regional Youth Organiser.