Honourable Minister for Information,
Colleague Ministers of State,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,
Members of staff of the Ministry of Youth& Sports and its Departments and Agencies,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today offers me an opportunity to give anoverview on the operations and activities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports,one of the re-established Ministries under the current Government.
The establishment of the Ministry of Youthand Sports is in fulfillment of a promise made in our Manisfesto.
Honourable Minister of Information, Ladiesand Gentlemen, the social democratic principles being pursued by Government is thedriving force and the basis of the vision for the management and execution ofpolicies in the Ministry.
These impressive principles have been tied tothe existing policies of the Youth & Sports Ministry to emphasize more onthe following areas:
i) Youthempowerment for sustained growth
ii) Promotion of sports for excellence and for leisure
iii) Producing capable human resource for optimum Youth and Sportsdevelopment; and
iv) Providing appropriate sports and recreational facilitiesto promote national integration, peace and unity, as well as internationalco-operation and friendship.
In order to reflect theseprinciples and attain its objectives, the Ministry operates through the followingAgencies and institutions:
· The NationalYouth Council (NYC),
· The NationalYouth Employment Programme (NYEP),
· The National Sports College(NSC, Winneba), and
· The NationalSports Council (NSC).
Permit me, Hon. Minister to givean overview of the performance of each of the Agencies at the Ministry. First, I will like to deal with the NationalYouth Council.
THENATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL
Ladies and gentlemen, one cannot emphasizeenough the Government’s reliance on the youth of the country for a successfuland sustainable development and progress of the nation.
It is for this reason, and also for the oftenrepeated statement that “the youth is the future of every nation,” that Governmenthas made youth organization and development a significant part of its agendafor a better Ghana.
In conjunction with identifiablestakeholders, the Ministry is in the process of finalizing a dynamic,pro-youth, multi-partisan National YouthPolicy to make room for new opinions and new perspectives to enable us comeout with a policy that will be generally accepted by all Ghanaians by the endof December 2009.
In the same vain, the Ministry is working ona Draft Youth Bill which will be submitted to Cabinet and subsequently to Parliamentto be passed into Law to give meaning to the National Youth Policy andfacilitate the implementation of the policy.
Hon. Minister, as one of itsprimary missions, the NYC is to prepare the youth to assume the responsibilityof adult life and to contribute to national development. This role includes training in vocationalskills as well as the inculcation of leadership qualities in the young ones.
To this end, the NYCadministers Eleven (11) Youth Leadership and Skills Training Institutes(YLSTIs) which provide young people with a two-year training programme in areassuch as Agriculture, Dressmaking, Catering, Electrical Installation, Masonry,Carpentry and Joinery, Metal Works, and Hair Dressing, as well as Computerstudies.
Opportunities are providedfor the students to develop their skills through on-the-job training, whilst atthe same time they are taught the fundamentals of English Language,Mathematics, Entrepreneurship, Leadership skills and Book keeping.
Each year, 75 candidates areenrolled in each of the above mentioned institutes and at the end of thetwo-year course, the students are examined for the National Vocational TrainingInstitute Grade Two (NVTI II) Certificate, while the Institutes also awardtheir own Diploma.
The Youth LeadershipTraining Institutes are unique in the sense that admission requirements are notbased on academic qualifications. Insome instances, those who have not had formal education are admitted and trainedin Vocational & Technical Skills.
Majority of the students arethose who for one reason or the other are unable to progress to higher levelsof formal education.
The intention is for thebeneficiaries of the training in these institutes to have the capacity to setup on their own with the probability of transferring the skills acquired throughapprenticeship training to others in their communities.
Measuresto Improve on Youth Leadership and Skills Training Institutes
To enable it contribute moremeaningfully to the overall development of the country, plans are a foot toenhance the course content of the Institute and to increase the duration of thecourses from two (2) years to four (4) years.
Accordingly the followingchanges will be made in some of the courses currently being offered by theInstitute.
i) Welding will change to Welding andFabrication
ii) Electrical Installation will becomeElectrical Installation and Electronics
iii) Draftsmanship will be added to Masonry; and
iv) Dressmaking will become Fashion, Design andTextiles.
In addition to this, shortcourses will be organized in these Institutes, to give regular training onemployable skills to the large army of unskilled youth in the street includingthe female porters popularly called “Kayayee”. This program is due to commence in all the eleven (11) Youth Leadershipand Skills Training Institutes in the country in December, 2009 when theInstitutes will be on their long vacation.
Other Programmes beingundertaken this year to achieve the councils objective; include the following:
* The National Youth Camp for Peace which was organized for 400 Youth at Sekondi;
* International Day of the Youth which was marked throughout the Country with the organization of workshops, seminars and durbars. The National programme took place in Wa in the Upper West Region;
* On-going counseling services on health, career development and other social issues for the youth;
* Facilitating dialogues on youth issues with development partners and other stakeholders.
Ladies and Gentlemen, oninfrastructure, the Ministry has made adequate budgetary provision for thecompletion of the office complex of the National Youth Council, Head Quarters situatedat Kaneshie.
Also, under a Chinese Grant,$1.6million Youth Centre Complex has been built in Kumasi to provide the necessary office andrecreational facilities for the Youth in the Metropolitan area. The Complex consists of a Conference Hall,offices, Internet Café Counselling centre and a place for playing Indoor Gamessuch as Basketball, Table Tennis, Handball etc. The Ministry will in due coursereplicate this project in all the ten (10) Regions in the country.
THENATIONAL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMME
Hon. Minister, the NationalYouth Employment Programe (NYEP) was put in place to specifically tackle andsolve the unemployment problem among the Youth in the Country. It’s goal is to empower the young people tocontribute meaningfully to the socio-economic and sustainable development ofthe nation; and its principal objective is to support the youth to transit froma situation of unemployment to a situation of employment or to prepare schooldrop outs to continue their education.
The Programme caters for thevarious categories of unemployed Youth between the ages of 18 – 35 years. Eight employment modules have beenimplemented nationwide, namely: Youth in Paid Internship, Youth In VocationJobs, Youth In Health Extension Workers, Youth In Agriculture, CommunityProtection Unit, Waste and Sanitation Assistants, Community Education TeachingAssistants and Volunteer Programme.
From projections made at theinception of the NYEP, it was envisaged that over 600,000 youth would beengaged under various modules of the programme by this year, 2009. However, actual employment figures stand atabout 108,000; meaning that the Programme has met less than 20% of itsemployment target. Out of the 108,000beneficiaries, 50% are engaged under the Youth in Agriculture module.
To make up for thisshortfall, the Ministry plans, as an interim measure, to engage over 100,000youth on the programme from September, 2009 to December, 2010. The breakdown includes:
i. Youth in Agriculture - 50,000
ii. Youth in Mobile Phone Repairs and Assembling - 5,000
iii. Youth in Health Extension - 10,000
iv. Youth in Afforestation - 50,000
v. Youth in Beach cleaning - 10,000 etc.
The Youlth in Beach cleaningmodule will engage in activities such as cleaning of beaches and planting ofcoconut trees and mangroves along the coast as well as the sensitization andeducation of the fisher folk on best environmental and occupational practiceswhich is geared towards the sustaining of livelihood will be undertaken indaily basis.
Distinguished Ladies andGentlemen, to achieve this target, the Ministry is pursuing the following measures:
a. Legal Status of NYEP:
TheMinistry will work towards the enactment of Executive Instrument that willstreamline the operations of the NYEP. Such an instrument would among others define the structure, functions,responsibilities, and obligations, together with the funding arrangements ofthe Programme.
b. Funding Arrangement:
Toensure adequate and regular funding for the smooth implementation of theProgramme, it is intended to among other things;
(i) establish the National Youth EmploymentProgramme Fund to facilitate receipts of funds from Non-statutory sources; and
(ii) seek Government approval to increase the 20%Communication Service Tax or Talk Time Tax (TTT) allocated to NYEP to 90%.
c. Exit Strategies of NYEP Beneficiaries
Aneffective and comprehensive exit strategy is critical to the sustainability ofNYEP. The Programme will be able tocreate vacancies to engage unemployed youth on regular basis if those at postcan be exited into mainstream employment avenues. The following measures among others, areeither being implemented or will be implemented to ensure the creation ofvacancies in the Programme.
ü Theoutsourcing of some beneficiaries in NYEP modules like Youth in ICT, CommunityTeaching Assistants, and Auxiliary Nurses to other countries for employmentunder terms agreed between Ghanaand the beneficiary country.
ü Placingemphasis on modules that have the capacity to provide the youth with permanentEmployment without putting any burden on the Payroll of NYEP. Accordingly, the Youth in Trade and Vocation,Youth In ICT, Youth In Agriculture, and Youth In Construction modules are someof the programmes that will attract attention.
In summary, the NationalYouth Employment Programme is at the moment focusing on:
· the review of current employment strategiesto transform the Programme into a permanent, better funded employment agencywhich will in addition to its normal duties deal with the counseling andcapacity building of the youth to facilitate access to sustainable employment.
· Alongside this will be organising periodichead-count exercises with the objective of taking inventory of allbeneficiaries at post and cleaning the Programme’s payroll of names of thosewho have exited the Programme. Also, theProgramme will emphasize the same time emphasizing on Trades & Vocation,Agriculture in Business and the ICT modules etc. to set-up beneficiaries asindependent business entities who will create more job opportunities for others.
THENATIONAL SPORTS COUNCIL
Hon. Minister, the Ministrywill soon put before Parliament a Draft Bill to address all the inadequacies inthe current Law, SMCD 54 of1976 so as to enable us flow with the InternationalCommunity.
This new Law when passedwill replace the old legal regime.
Honourable Minister, Ladiesand Gentlemen, the Ministry through the NSC has systematically put in placemeasures to properly manage all available infrastructure in the country.
Accordingly, the Council hascreated new units and stepped up its human resource capacity to cater for suchimportant areas of operation as procedures,bookings and scheduling, marketing, public relations and advertising,housekeeping and maintenance; security andsafety; and medical services.
Also, the Council’smaintenance strategy provides guidelines and sustainable procedures formanaging all the facilities, and places a high premium on maintenance andmonitoring culture that is both preventive and reactive in practice.
To ensure regular andsustainable maintenance culture, the Council engaged Private Companies in theManagement of the security, sanitation, and pitch maintenance of the stadia.
It is expected that whenpassed, the new Sports Law will involve the private sector in the management ofour Sports facilities.
Hon. Minister, Governmenthas further plans of increasing the country’s stock of facilities nationwide tocreate the kind of enabling environment that will attract the youth intosports.
Among such Projects to beundertaken with expedition is the new sports stadium for Cape Coast;and the rehabilitation of the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex at Kaneshie, soon tobe renamed under a joint ventureship agreement with a Private firm.
To demonstrate its commitmentto deliver in the provision of sports infrastructure, Government has been ableto reconstruct within a matter of 100 days, the nation’s only astro Turf waterbased hockey pitch into a state-of-the-art modern with a water based astro TurfNational Hockey Stadium that hosted the 9th edition of the AfricanHockey Federation (AfHF) African Cup for Nations Tournament, Ghana 2009.
There are plans to constructsimilar facilities in the Universityof Ghana, Legon and in Kumasi, to qualify Ghana to bid for the hosting of theWorld Hockey Tournament in the near future.
Hon. Minister, still mindfulof the pledge to raise the status of every sport discipline, the Governmentintends to provide Gyms and out-door multipurpose courts for hand Games eg.Basketball, volleyball, handball, etc. in all the Regional capitals. Also, it is intended to construct at leastthree (3) multi-purpose Sports Halls in the country within the next few years.
Already the construction of theGreater Accra Region’s Gym and multi-purpose court are on course at the OheneDjan Sports Stadium whilst efforts are being made to rehabilitate the Tennis Courtsat the Stadium in preparation for Ghana’s participation in the Euro-Africa ZoneII Qualifying matches due to commence in January next year. The idea is to makeit possible for every sport to be raised to the highest degree of popularityand acceptance.
As a way of improving onSports Infrastructure, Government will also explore the possibility of hosting InternationalTournaments and Games particularly the All Africa Games in the year 2015. This way, various sporting facilities will beprovided for all the sporting disciplines that will be competed for in theGames, including the so called “lesser known sports”.
Let me take this opportunityto assure all of you that Government will continue to maintain its socialresponsibility of ensuring that national sports centres and facilities are readilyavailable and accessible for use by all sportsmen and sports women.
Hon. Minister, as we allknow, the Ghanaian’s passion and love for the game of football can never beunderrated, for this reason, Government is committed to the development andpromotion of the game to satisfy our emotions.
The good news is that afterplaying only four (4) out of six (6) matches, the Senior National FootballTeam, the Black Stars emerged as the first African Country to qualify toparticipate in the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations and the 2010 World CupTournaments scheduled to take place in Angola and South Africarespectively. This is a recordunprecedented in the history of football in the country. I therefore wish totake this opportunity to congratulate all Ghanaians, the Government andparticularly the players, Technical Team and Management for an excellent performance.
I wish to also mention thatthe National U-20 Team, the Black Satellites, the current Africa U-20 Championsare at the moment in Doha, Qatar preparing feverishly for the FIFA World U-20Tournament which is scheduled to take place in Egypt this year. The team will leave for Tunis,Tunisia for acclimatization today,the 15th of September 2009 from where they will leave to Egypt, thevenue of the Tournament. I was in Aspire Academyin Doha, Qatar to encourage and motivate theteam to go in for the ultimate in the tournament. Whilst there, I observed that morale in campwas high and that the boys are prepared to sacrifice for the nation. I wish to call on all Ghanaians to continueto remember the team in their daily prayers so that for the first time in ourhistory, Ghanawill win the World Trophy in the U-20 Championship.
Hon. Minister, Apart from Football,programmes involving the other Sporting disciplines like Athletics, both juniorand senior, Amateur Boxing, Table Tennis, Tennis, Cricket and the PhysicallyChallenged have all exhibited their capacity to draw the attention of theinternational community, and to make Ghana proud.
The Ghana 2009 HockeyTournament, for instance, was so successful in its organization and hosting asto draw the unsolicited comments and praise of the President of the Federationof International Hockey, Mr. Leandro Negre.
It is recalled that evenahead of hosting of the AfHF Ghana 2009 Hockey Tournament, Rugby Association ofGhana successfully hosted a Women Rugby tournament in Accraearly in the year.
Achievementsfor the year
Among some of Ghana’sachievements in Sports this year are:
i) Joseph ‘King Kong’ Agbeko and successfullydefended the World Bantamweight Championship title
ii) Ghana wonseven (7) medals in Amateur Boxing in African Championship
iii) Ghana wonthree (3) bronze medals in Taekwando and a bronze medal in Netball in AfricanChampionship
iv) Ghanaalso won bronze in the Africa Rugby Championship
v) Ghanadominated in the Regional Table Tennis Championship held in Cote D’Ivoire and Benin
vi) Ghanaalso won a silver medal in the Regional Baseball Championship held in La Cote d’Ivoire
Distinguished Ladies andGentlemen, The National Sports Council has a continuous training programme for itstechnical staff and administrators. This, together with the direct technicaltraining that the associations have with their respective international parentbodies, and the collaboration that the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), has withinternational Training Institutions provides opportunities for qualified staffmembers to upgrade their capacity.
An agreement between the NSCand the Australian government in 2008 affords the Council the chance to benefitfrom the Australian Sports Outreach Programme. This made it possible for theNSC to organize training-of-trainersprogrammes successfully in Central and Volta Regions in 2008, and in theNorthern Region in 2009. At the momentthe project is on-going in Sekondi in the Western Region.
The project which iscurrently confined to four selected regions for a period of four years offerstraining in coaching, refereeing, andsports administration. It has the key objective to accelerate thepace of grass-root sports development through organizing and promoting thelesser financed sports, specifically, volleyball, handball, athletics, boxing,and table tennis, to attain the level that will project Ghana on the international scene.
NATIONAL SPORTS COLLEGE
Hon. Minister, the Ministry’sambition of raising sports to the point of excellence lie with the National Sports Collegewhich has the following as its core functions and objectives:
* Training and re-retraining coaches, sports administrators, sports managers, sports journalists, marketers of sports, and sport facility managers;
* Provide camping facilites to national associations and local clubs preparing teams for participation in national and international competitions;
* Organize seminars, workshops, and conferences on contemporary and topical issues on sports promotion and development;
* Deepen the collaboration with existing sport entities and organizations such as FIFA, ITF, IOC and the local bodies that include the National Sports Council and GFA to run courses for technical and administrative personnel for the sports industry;
* Research into sports-related issues and disseminate findings with the aim of improving upon sports performance;
* Unearth, train and empower young sportsmen and women with quality education and porofessional skills for sustained growth and for national teams; and
* Develop sustainable generation avenues to enable the College operate with minimum financial support from Government.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it isquite obvious, and indded a matter of great concern that a country that has asizable proportion of the reputation acquired over the decades based onperformance in sports has been depending on the same crop of coaches who wonlaurels in the times gone by.
In pursuance of theMinistry’s objective to raise all sports disciplines to an appreciable level ofrecognition and participation, attention will be placed on the Sports Collegeto produce the human resource needed for the development and promotion ofsports.
The College has already donethe nation proud this year by winning six medals – one gold, thredd silver, andtwo bronze – at the International Tennis Federation West and Central AfricaJunior Championships held in Ghana in January, 2009.
So far in Football, the 1995year group has produced the current captain of the Black Stars, Stephen Appiah,Godwin Attram, Hamza Mohammed, Laryea Kinston, Dan Quaye, Osei Boateng andothers while that of year 2000 group has already produced Samad Inkoom andAbeiku Quansah for the Black Stars and Satellites and others for the premierclubs. Products of the College alsodominate in the women and the Junior Tennis Teams.
In addition to skillTraining, the College provides tropical education to the Academy Students inschools around Winneba and am proud to announce that Twenty Three (23) of the2000 year group are pursuing degree and diploma courses in the university.
Ladies and Gentlemen, inpursuance of the Ministry’s objective to raise all sports disciplines to anappreciable level of recognition and participation, the Sports College will beexpected to establish academies for the so-called lesser-known sportdisciplines to add to the already existing socceracademy and the tennis academy.
The Ministry is consequentlygiving consideration to proposals submitted by the Management of the Collegefor assistance in the construction of the requisite facilities to accelerate thedevelopment of talents in various sports disciplines in larger numbers.
As already stated, Ladiesand Gentlemen, we consider it worthwhile to even go further to establish moreof such institutions, with the requisite infrastructure, in several other partsof the country, so that through the academy concept, as well as addedassistance to elite athletes, Ghana sports can be revolutionized in line withGovernment policy of decentralizing and regionalizing sport and youthactivities.
I would like to mention athis point some of the experiences that I encountered during my familiarizationtour of the three northern regions towards the end of August this year.
I found it quite amusing tosee a group of young men playing hockey with sticks that they had ingeniouslyimprovised from bamboo. Everything aboutthe game was correct, with the possible exception of the equipment that theywere using.
It was also quite evidentthat a lot of the open spaces originally earmarked for sports are either beingunderutilized, or are being used for totally different purposes.
My counsel to the DistrictAssemblies, whose mandate, as enshrined in the local government law, coversresponsibility for youth and sports, is to jealously guard lands acquired forthe sector for purposes of future development and make the development ofsports infrastructure and youth recreation centers as much of a priority as thedevelopment of markets and lorry parks.
We believe that it should bepossible for us as a nation to place sport facilities and equipment within orin close proximity to the very many communities that have been identified to befull and spilling over with unoccupied youth because through such a scheme thenation will be able to unearth many talents from among the disadvantaged whoseskills and love for sports may help them climb up the social ladder and helpreduce their level of poverty.
After all it is commonknowledge that many of our elite stars in hockey, tennis, and even somenot-so-popular sport disciplines have come to acquire their skills by thesimple fortune of their nearness to areas where such sport facilities areeasily accessible.
This is the target we in theMinistry and our agencies have set for ourselves in the years ahead. It is a task that can ably be tackled onlywith the co-operation of all the stakeholders in sports.
It is our utmost desire thatyou, the media and practitioners in communication will always find reason tosupport this cause.
Let me also take thisopportunity to thank all Ghanaians and the corporate bodies for their moral,spiritual and financial support for the Youth and Sports sectors in thecountry. I should also expressappreciation to Government for extending support to the Ministry to carry outits programmes and activities. I wish toassure all and sundry that Government will do everything possible to fulfillits manifesto on the Youth and Sports sectors.
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