Government is to invest approximately $1.7 billion in youth programmes under the 2018 budget.
According to the recent presentation by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the programmes are designed to ensure that youths attain the relevant skill-sets that are required for the job market, either to become employable or manage their own operations.
The total amount will be used to continue programmes such as the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) and the Hinterland Youth Innovation Project of Guyana (YIPoG), Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training (YEST), Employment and Youth Scheme (HEYS) programmes.
The Youth Innovation Project seeks to engender creative thinking among youths, and provides grant resources up to $2M to finance innovative solutions. In-and-out of school youth, between the ages of 16-35, are benefitting from the programme.
The project was designed to reduce unemployment; engage youths in the development of a green state; and foster creative thinking for problem-solving through Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Architecture, Arts, Mathematics, and Spirituality.
In this regard, the government has invited young people to submit proposals for financing, which will promote civic education, political awareness, entrepreneurship, business development and the rule of law; empower women and youth; and combat social ills, including corruption.
The sum of $150 million has been budgeted to continue the SLED programme in 2018. Under this venture, grants have been awarded to youth Cooperatives and Friendly Societies, to equip them to engage in sustainable, economic ventures.
In 2017, Societies from Regions Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and Ten benefitted from interventions such as salted fish processing, block making, lemon grass planting and harvesting, cash crop farming, chicken and pig rearing, food preservation, catering and hospitality.
In relation to youth in governance, the administration continues to ensure that young people are incorporated into policy, legislative and project decision-making, through several mechanisms including Youth Parliament, President’ s Youth Award Republic of Guyana (PYARG) and through the drafting of a national youth policy, which will articulate young people’s perspectives on politics and good governance.
Youth represent a significant proportion of Guyana’s population and that the future success and growth of Guyana depends on how equipped this section of the population is to handle emerging and future challenges.
To that end, government’s approach to the development of young people is based on the twin pillars of youth empowerment; and youth employment and entrepreneurship.
During his presentation of budget 2018, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan also noted Government’s commitment to create a harmonious society, based on the principles of mutual respect and tolerance for one another, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or sexuality.
Speaking briefly about the work of the Ministry of Cohesion, Jordan admitted that creating a socially cohesive society is a mammoth’s task, given the distrust that has been sown among the people of the nation and the lack of tolerance for those who are viewed as being different.
“We will not let such divisions and intolerance to continue to hinder our development. The Government will continue to work to rebuild trust and cohesiveness in our society.
In 2018, we will continue to engage civil society groups and local and central government agencies, through our sensitisation and information sharing initiative, to ensure that they are aware of their roles in achieving social cohesion,” he underscored.
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