Rethinking new ways to create jobs

BY: Daily Graphic
Rethinking new ways to create jobs
Rethinking new ways to create jobs

The country’s unemployment rate is at an all-time high. Increased population and low economic output have pushed the rate into double digits.

For instance, according to a Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) report, the rate of people who are available for work but unable to find jobs doubled to 13.4 per cent in 2021, from the 5.3 per cent recorded in 2010.

The 2021 figure, which was announced in the General Report on the 2021 Population and Housing Census, is now the highest since 1984 when the country’s unemployment data were first reported.

From the report, out of the economically active population (those who are neither employed nor unemployed; they are not in paid work but they are also not looking for jobs or available to start work) of 11.54 million, 1.55 million were unemployed. This means these were people who were looking to work but could not find any.

Females and the youth between the ages of 15 and 24 were the worse hit, according to the report.

We at the Daily Graphic find this situation, which is getting worse, very disturbing, especially against the backdrop of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The GSS report indicated that the unemployment rate among the female population was 15.5 per cent, higher than the rate for males, which was 11.6 per cent. The rate was also 32.8 per cent for young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, but 19.7 per cent among people between the ages of 15 and 35.

The worrying development is what informed the quarter two theme for the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting held last Tuesday: “Tackling unemployment to create wealth – Opportunities for Ghana”.

At the meeting which was attended by experts from all sectors of the economy, it was unanimously agreed that there was the need for the government to leverage the opportunities within the economy to help turn the situation around by aggressively and pragmatically implementing the numerous policies it had on paper to reverse the trend.

For instance, they mentioned the huge opportunities within the agricultural sector and noted that the implementation of the government’s flagship agricultural programme, christened: Planting for Food and Jobs, need to be reviewed urgently, five years after its implementation, to make it more relevant for the people and meet the targets for which it was birthed.

The manufacturing sector, according to the panellists, whose proposals were also supported by participants, needed to be revamped through the commitment of more resources and tax breaks that would allow manufacturing entities some room to expand to absorb more unemployed people.

For us, these calls have come at an opportune time when developments around us have taught us lessons on which we seriously need to reflect and adopt to suit us.

There is no doubt in our minds that Ghana has what it takes to survive any global turmoil and so we should not, under any circumstance, be at the mercy of global shocks.

We are aware of the numerous natural resources which many other countries do not have. Yet those countries have been able to manoeuvre through the implementation of deliberate and pragmatic policies, as well as a clear agenda not to disappoint their people, and they have succeeded.

For the Daily Graphic, if others have succeeded, we can do the same by rethinking our ways and having at the back of our minds the fact that our actions and inaction are what create the unemployment problem which many now describe as a national security problem.

Again, we trust that if we truly tout the private sector as the engine of growth, there is the need to listen to the players in that sector and do as they request for them to be able to operate optimally. Through that, they can expand to absorb and lift people out of the unemployment conundrum.