Parliamentary candidates of the Bolgatanga Central constituency Bolgatanga have blamed youth unemployment in the constituency and the Upper East Region to the high illiteracy rate, lack of skilled labour and the collapse of local industries.
They said this at a forum organised for the candidates by the Institute for Democratic Governance and the Civic Forum Initiative on Wednesday in Bolgatanga.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Dr Gyesika Agambilla, said the major problem of unemployment among the youth in the area could be attributed to the problem of education gap created by the colonial masters where northerners were denied education and were used as labourers.
He said it was to address this problem that the NPP would implement free senior high school education to close the gap between the north and the south. He said governments over the years lacked comprehensive youth policies and the NPP, through the National Youth Development Authority it would establish, would empower the youth with skills.
On the collapsed tomato and the meat factories in the Region, Dr Agambilla said he would facilitate the revamping of these factories by ensuring that the factories produce their own raw materials to feed them, thereby creating more jobs for the youth.
He said just as cocoa has a fixed price, he would advocate for sheanut and cotton that are grown in the north to also have fixed prices and added that the government needed to impose tariffs on imported goods like rice and poultry to help boost the local production
Mr Opam Brown, the Member of Parliament for the Bolgatanga Central, said the National Democratic Congress(NDC ) government was supporting the youth in the form of capital to start businesses under its Job and Enterprise Development Centre
He said the youth are also given support under the Youth in Agriculture Programme and that these programmes and others would continue to benefit majority of the youth.
Mr Rockson Akugre Ayine, the People’s National Convention candidate, said his party would empower most of the youth who are not in school to learn trades such as hair dressing basket weaving, mechanics and carpentry
He said he would also advocate the revamping of the meat and tomato factories which would not only improve the livelihoods of the people in his constituency but also contribute to growth of the nation.
All the aspirants called for comprehensive government policy towards addressing youth unemployment problem in the region and nation as a whole. GNA