Unemployment has become a worrying global issue, with countries grappling with how to find an antidote to the problem. It does not affect only the individual in respect of income but also has a grave effect on the health and mortality of the unemployed and their families.
The effects of unemployment on the economy are equally severe. The loss of income associated with unemployment results in lower living standards and low spending, leading to a decline in the profits of local businesses, which may in turn lead to failure of these businesses and to more unemployment.
There is also a strong connection between high rates of unemployment and social disorder. As a matter of fact, unemployment leads to higher divorce and crime rates and lower life expectancy.
In January this year, Tunisia erupted in demonstrations and violent clashes with the security forces in protest against mass unemployment and poverty, among other grievances. In the USA, mass protests were staged a couple of years ago as a result of what the demonstrators said was the lack of unemployment.
These disturbances arising out of lack of employment avenues are being experienced all over the globe.
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Ghana has, fortunately, not experienced violent demonstrations against unemployment, yet. But the few protests by unemployed nurses, teachers and hygiene graduates it has witnessed, coupled with the formation of an unemployed graduates association, now known as the Association of Graduates in Skill Development in Ghana, indicate that all is not well and perhaps we are sitting on a time bomb as far as the rate of unemployment is concerned.
That is why any effort to create employment or reduce the unemployment rate should be welcomed by all citizens.
As part of government’s effort to address the unemployment challenge, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday launched the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) which is to engage 100,000 graduates in seven modules.
Strategically, the modules cut across all areas of national development — Agriculture, Education, Revenue Collection, Health, Entrepreneurship, ICT and Local Governance.
The Daily Graphic can only congratulate the government on this timely initiative. Coupled with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), the youth are in the process of being prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the economy.
It is imperative to remind the beneficiaries that this is a terminal programme that they would be expected to exit; therefore, they should take advantage of the opportunity to learn hard on the job, so that they will become employable at the end of their engagement.
We again urge businesses and organisations to take advantage of the government’s pro-business initiatives to expand in order to absorb some of the unemployed graduates who will be enrolled under the NABCO.
We have been witnesses to user agencies and other organisations that have connived with beneficiaries of similar programmes to milk the nation, leading to those organisations becoming ineffective and incapable of carrying out their mandates fully. Our admonishment is that stringent monitoring mechanisms should be put in place. We pray that those who will be entrusted to ensure the success of the programme will not fail the nation.
Once again, we applaud the government for its ingenuity and ask all to help make it flourish.