The government will announce a major reduction in electricity tariffs by the end of June this year as part of measures to support the private sector to grow and create more jobs.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, who disclosed this, described the increasing rate of unemployment as the greatest threat to national security that ought to be tackled head on.
“The biggest threat to this country today is not the fear of attack by terrorists or a military intervention in government. It is the fear of the threat the teeming unemployed youth can pose.
“We can tackle this challenge by removing barriers such as high electricity tariffs and the cost of credit so that there will be an anchor for the private sector to create more employment opportunities,” he indicated.
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He was speaking at the dedication of the site for the construction of an office complex for the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) in Accra.
The GH¢12.9 million office complex, which is expected to be constructed within three years, will comprise a modern conference centre, 43 offices, and a reception foyer.
The three-storey building will also have a board room, canteen and other facilities that will facilitate the work of the association.
Every year, an average of 60,000 young people graduate from the country’s tertiary institutions and join the long queue of unemployed youth.
The skyrocketing figure of job-seeking youth comes at a time the space for public sector employment is overstretched, making it difficult to absorb the unemployed young people.
Against that backdrop, Mr Baffour Awuah urged the private sector to rise to the challenge by partnering the government to create decent jobs.
“The government is aware of the challenges facing the private sector so there are deliberate policies that are being rolled out to ensure that all barriers are removed to propel the growth of private entities,” he said.
He added that efforts were being made to address all outstanding labour issues to forestall all forms of labour unrests to ensure industrial peace.
The President of GEA, Mr Terrence Roland Addo, outlined the myriad of challenges that employers and the business community faced and called on the government to take pragmatic steps to tackle those challenges if it really wanted the private sector to expand and create more jobs.
“There are still issues such as counterfeit and substandard goods being dumped onto the Ghanaian market, obsolete technology is still being used in production, while high cost of electricity and capital keep suffocating businesses. The government must improve the macro-economic environment to make it easy for businesses to thrive,” he said.
He urged members of GEA to support the building project to ensure that “it is completed on schedule.”