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Government created over 5million jobs between 2017 and 2021 - Minister

BY: Biiya Mukusah Ali
Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, speaking during the 2022 national launch of the Ghana Job Fair in Sunyani
Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, speaking during the 2022 national launch of the Ghana Job Fair in Sunyani

The government created 5,306,899 jobs between 2017 and 2021, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, has disclosed.

He said the figure was arrived at after an analysis of data assembled by the ministry from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and the government's flagship programmes.

Mr Baffour-Awuah, who was speaking at the opening of the 2022 Ghana Job Fair in Sunyani last Wednesday, said the government had made tremendous gains in job creation.

He explained further that the jobs created were either formal or informal, permanent or temporary and full-time or part-time.

Ghana Job Fair

The two-day Ghana Job Fair, which brought together hundreds of youth, was on the theme: "Green Edition".

It provided a platform for job seekers to acquire the needed skills and tools necessary for enhancing their employability and creativity in a fast-transforming employment space.

It was jointly organised by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the Ghanaian-German Centre, the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and the Labour Department.

Mr Baffour-Awuah said his ministry had positioned itself to create the enabling environment for all relevant stakeholders to foster linkages and build synergies for job creation.

The government, he said, was hopeful that through those collaborations, a number of job creation opportunities would be created for the youth.

He added that the government, in collaboration with relevant partners, was working assiduously to ensure that majority of those jobs conformed to decent work standards.

"That is, jobs that guarantee adequate income security and social security, provide adequate social protection, protect and promote the rights of workers, encourage unionisation and promote social dialogue," he explained.

The minister said in the present age, there should not be jobs that delivered wages below the prevailing national minimum wage.

"If for nothing at all, we should strive to secure the welfare and well-being of vulnerable workers in pursuit of the Green Agenda, otherwise the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development may not be attainable,” he said.

Mr Baffour-Awuah reiterated the fact that youth employment and entrepreneurship remained priorities of the government, not only for now but also in the long term.

He mentioned the roll-out of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), the Youth Employment Programme and the One-District, One-Factory and the Planting for Food and Jobs initiatives as some of the programmes rolled out to address unemployment.

He said the newly introduced ‘YouStart’ initiative would also complement existing programmes to create more decent job opportunities for the youth, adding that the government would continue to roll out more programmes and interventions to give hope to the teeming youth.

Human resource

The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, said the major human resource potential that could contribute immensely to the development of a nation was the youth.

She, therefore, urged the youth to take advantage of government policies and programmes, such as the Micro-finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and the Ghana Enterprises Agency, aimed at supporting the youth to venture into entrepreneurship.

Ms Owusu-Banahene said the fair would enable the youth to acquire the necessary skills and mindset for innovative and sustainable approaches to employment in the fast-transforming industry space.

Ghana losing jobs

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the YEA, Kofi Agyapong, said Ghana was losing its informal sector to artisans from neighbouring countries such as Togo.

He explained that artisans from Togo had dominated the country's informal sector because of their ability to produce better quality work than local artisans and described the situation as "a looming national crisis”.

He said the absence of relevant skills would continue to create large-scale unemployment, despite the availability of job vacancies.

The Country Director of GIZ Ghana, Regina Barbosa, said the fair was one of its flagship events targeting young job seekers, entrepreneurs and technical and vocational artisans to help tackle unemployment and underemployment.

She said since its inception in 2019, the Ghana Job Fair had attracted 10,927 youth, who had benefitted from direct engagement with employers, counselling sessions on career opportunities and training on entrepreneurial skills.

Ms Barbosa said despite the difficult job terrain, the Ghanaian-German Centre had been able to place close to 5,000 job seekers in gainful employment.