Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that the creation of the Nation Builders Corps to employ 100,000 people this year, with a budgetary allocation of GH¢600 million, was on course, coupled with other intervention initiatives to deal with the unemployment situation.
Opening the 69th annual New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana on Monday, he said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration had made job creation a key plank of its economic policies.
This year’s conference is on the theme: “Job creation for accelerated national development: The role of the private sector”.
Participants will brainstorm on the way forward in creating the enabling environment for youth employment.
Dr Bawumia described the unemployment situation as a reflection of the underlining weakness in the economy over the years.
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Touching on the economy, he indicated that the government had restored fiscal discipline to consolidate the gains chalked up over the year to take the economy to the next level.
He said the government exceeded its target by reducing the fiscal deficit from 9.3 per cent in 2016 to 5.3 per cent in 2017, adding that the country’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio declined from 73 per cent in 2016 to 71 per cent in 2017.
Touting its achievements in terms of economic indices, Dr Bawumia said growth in the agricultural sector increased from three per cent in 2016 to 4.3 per cent in 2017, with industrial growth recording 17 per cent in the same period.
He added that Ghana recorded improved economic growth from 3.7 per cent in 2016 to an estimated 7.9 per cent in 2017, an achievement he described as the best the country had recorded since 1991.
The Vice-President noted that the restoration of the teacher and nursing trainee allowances was to bring relief to the people.
“With all these payments and positive economic indices, we have still been able to reduce the fiscal deficit. This is what we call competent economic management,” he said.
According to him, the country had not achieved the level of development as envisaged by the forebears, after 60 years of independence, for which reason he underscored the need for Ghana to do things differently to attain the heights of the likes of Malaysia and Singapore.
He pointed out that macroeconomic stability alone was not enough to create jobs but that other policy initiatives, such as the Planting for Food and Jobs, were needed to guarantee jobs and economic growth.
Dr Bawumia said the government was trying to put in place a formalised economy through digitalisation and entreated Ghanaians to endeavour to know their digital addresses, without which it would be impossible to register for the national identification card.
He added that there would be a land digitalisation conference in February this year to begin the processes of acquiring lands through digital means to forestall the incidence of litigation in the acquisition of land.
The Vice-President expressed optimism about the economic outlook for 2018, saying that the government would reduce the cost of doing business in the country and gave an indication of the coming into being of some legislation, such as the Company and the Insolvency acts, as part of efforts to improve the business climate in Ghana.
On the one-village, one-dam policy, Dr Bawumia said all was set for the process to begin with the publication of advertisements inviting tenders for the procurement of equipment to undertake the project.