Georgetown, GINA, July 27, 2016
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan said government is still in the process of sourcing financing for the establishment of the Youth Investment Fund which is expected to aid in the development of a young entrepreneurial class.
“At the half year we had not established such a fund yet because we had gone to a couple of international agencies to get seed money to establish the fund. Their procedures are a bit complicated so we will continue that discussion in the second half,” the Finance Minister told the Government Information Agency (GINA) in a recent interview at the Ministry of Finance, Main Street, Georgetown.
The Youth Investment Fund is touted by government as a source of empowering young people to aid in the country’s development.
“The idea of this fund was to give youths seed money to start up projects – visionary, innovative kinds of project, not something you could just walk off the road and get. We were looking for those visionary youth; innovative youth who want to explore their imagination in all areas, even in the arts and to bring out their entrepreneurial capabilities,” Jordan explained.
Meanwhile Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, Aubrey Norton said the fund which forms part of the National Youth Policy, “ is intended to help to create this young entrepreneur group that we are talking about, create employment in the form of small business and to develop the entrepreneur skills required to make a country develop.”
Despite facing challenges to source finances from multilateral agencies for the investment fund start up, Minister Jordan assured that government intends to fulfill its promise in establishing the fund.
“I want to say we hope that before the year is out we can have a little bit of money for the fund. Perhaps if we don’t get the money that we are looking for from the multilateral agencies then we will look at the possibilities of us using our money to start the fund even as we pursue the multilateral agencies,” the minister said.
Questioned about the readiness of young people to access the fund, Norton said preparatory work is continuing to ensure youths can take full advantage of the opportunities created when the fund is established.
“I do know that we have done things like the terms of reference and the preparatory works so once it is passed, it can be fast tracked. We have to put in place the mechanisms to make sure young people can become entrepreneurs, mechanisms for them to be trained in financial literacy and small business management, all that’s necessary to create a core of young entrepreneurs,” Norton explained.
The establishment of a Youth Investment Fund was proposed in the Government’s 2016 budget as a means of addressing unemployment and other concerns of Guyana’s youth which constitute in excess of 50 percent of the nation’s population.
Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry during the 2016 budget debates said that, “Our young people have not realised their potential in the last two decades. The previous Government took a piecemeal approach….they had no plan for youth development…We in the APNU+AFC Government are rectifying this situation.”
The Government’s youth policy details the vision and funding for youths, and also how this vision will be realised. The policy caters to the needs of the 15 to 35 years bracket.
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