On Wednesday, the finance minister will present the government’s economic policy and budget for 2018. The budget comes with a lot of expectations and also creates anxious moments for individuals and businesses alike as to the direction of the economy for next year.
It is understandable for individuals and businesses to be anxious because the budget’s focus will give them an inkling as to the thinking of government and that will inform their choices and decisions as they plan for next year.
Thankfully, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has already hinted that the budget will focus on job creation. We anticipate a budget that will stimulate a lot of economic activities aimed at promoting a more vibrant private sector that can create more jobs.
We also are of the firm belief that some of the policy initiatives that will be announced should automatically be linked with jobs. For far too long the job creation factor has been missing in our policy initiatives, thereby making it an outcome rather than a well-thought-out strategy.
As a business newspaper, we strongly believe that the issue of unemployment cannot be swept under the carpet; and it should also not be treated lightly because it comes with a very high price.
Unemployment has been the bane of Ghana’s development, particularly graduate unemployment.
How can we not have a policy to draw on the talents of these young individuals who have just left the walls of our tertiary institutions?
At the time university education came to Ghana, with the establishment of the University of Ghana in 1948 to produce graduates, there were jobs already waiting for fresh graduates, so the term graduate unemployment was non-existent.
Official figures from the National Council for Tertiary Education indicate that a minimum of 66,500 graduates join the search for jobs each year. On the other hand, data from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) indicates that there are only 40,000 new formal sector jobs for the 66,500 graduates churned out of the country’s tertiary institutions each year.
This suggests that 40 per cent of fresh graduates face possible unemployment unless they create their own jobs.
We believe the figures may even be more, looking at the number of universities currently operating in the country.
It is very sad to say that in spite of the rising unemployment levels in the economy, the economy is not growing at a rate that will create jobs.
It is important to state that we are not oblivious of the fact that government can only employ fewer number of people compared to the private sector, and it is for this reason that we are advocating that the policy initiatives in the budget will provide the private sector with the necessary space to grow and employ more.
The GRAPHIC BUSINESS is eagerly awaiting those initiatives in the 2018 budget that will translate into jobs, and that is what we will hold President Akufo-Addo to.