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Mahama gov’t to create prosperity for all – Sammy Gyanfi

BY: graphic.com.gh
Sammy Gyanfi
Sammy Gyanfi

The Communications Officer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi says the next NDC government under John Dramani Mahama will create prosperity for all and not the family and friends government under President Akufo-Addo.

“The goal of the next NDC/Mahama government is to create shared prosperity for all and not a select few, by creating enough sustainable jobs that pay well enough to avoid the problem of “working poor”, where workers’ wages are so low that they cannot meet the basic necessities of life and remain poor even though they are working.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Accra, Mr Gyamfi said the NDC is committed to the creation of sustainable jobs for the Ghanaian.

“We are committed to the creation of sustainable jobs for the Ghanaian people because we are fully aware that the youth and people of this country deserve decent employment to be able to afford a decent living for themselves and their families. This is what informed the theme of the Peoples’ manifesto: “Jobs and Prosperity for All”, Sammy Gyamfi said.

He added that “Our vision for jobs, dubbed “Edwumapa”, is a solemn pledge that will focus on creating, one (1) Million permanent jobs with decent wages in four years. To achieve this, the next NDC/Mahama government will create a minimum of 250,000 sustainable jobs with decent wages every year over the next 4 years. This will translate into a total of minimum of 1 million sustainable/permanent jobs and not ad hoc jobs in four (4) years”.

Read full speech below:

AN ADDRESS BY COMRADE SAMMY GYAMFI, NATIONAL COMMUNICATION OFFICER OF THE NDC, ON THE ONE MILLION JOBS AGENDA OF THE NEXT NDC GOVERNMENT

DUBBED “EDWUMAPA”, AT THE 14TH EDITION OF THE PARTY’S WEEKLY PRESS BRIEFING.

WEDNESDAY, 14TH OCTOBER, 2020.

Good morning distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the media. We welcome you to today’s press briefing which will focus on and explain in detail, the Job Creation Agenda of H.E John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress as contained in the Peoples’ Manifesto.

As you may have observed, the good news in the NDC’s 2020 Election Manifesto is resonating with the Ghanaian people all across the country. This is because, the promises contained in the Peoples’ manifesto, are a product of broad stakeholder consultations and sound research anchored on policies that adequately address the many challenges confronting our nation.

Friends from the media, the NDC’s message of hope that we present to Ghanaians is backed by our solid track-record of delivery. Today, the Ghanaian people have seen the difference between the two leaders who are gunning for the position of President– President John Dramani Mahama on the one hand, who is being celebrated as a Nation Builder and a man of his word, as against President Akufo-Addo who is fast being swept into oblivion for supervising four years of lawlessness, vindictiveness, divisiveness, deception, corruption, nepotism and unfulfilled promises.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the biggest challenge facing our nation today is undoubtedly, high unemployment. The NDC is deeply concerned about the high levels of unemployment in the country, which we consider a national security threat, and a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

The goal of the next NDC/Mahama government is to create shared prosperity for all and not a select few, by creating enough sustainable jobs that pay well enough to avoid the problem of “working poor”, where workers’ wages are so low that they cannot meet the basic necessities of life and remain poor even though they are working. We are committed to the creation of sustainable jobs for the Ghanaian people because we are fully aware that the youth and people of this country deserve decent employment to be able to afford a decent living for themselves and their families. This is what informed the theme of the Peoples’ manifesto: “Jobs and Prosperity for All”.

Our vision for jobs, dubbed “Edwumapa”, is a solemn pledge that will focus on creating, ONE (1) MILLION PERMANENT JOBS WITH DECENT WAGES IN FOUR (4) YEARS. To achieve this, the next NDC/Mahama government will create a minimum of 250,000 sustainable jobs with decent wages every year over the next 4 years. This will translate into a total of minimum of 1 million sustainable/permanent jobs and not ad hoc jobs in four (4) years.

Distinguish friends from the media, the NDC’s Agenda for jobs will be science-driven, while embracing critical reforms to create job opportunities that hitherto did not exist for our countrymen and women.

EMPLOYMENT REFORMS 1. Employment Act

As a first step soon after we are ushered into office, we shall pass the first of its kind in our nation’s history, an Employment Act to provide a comprehensive framework for job creation and labour market statistics.

2. Creating a Three-shift Economy

Given Ghana’s small market size of only 31 million people and a per capita income of $2,200, we intend to embark an aggressive promotion of exports, which will lead to a high demand for labour to meet increased production for both domestic consumption and export.

To accommodate this anticipated demand for Ghanaian goods and services, the next NDC Government will create a 3-shift economy, especially in manufacturing and other high-end services, which operates 24 hours non-stop. Thus, the additional two shifts will be a source of additional employment. Companies that currently operate 24 hours with only two shifts of 12 hours each in violation of the labour law (which specifies a maximum of 8 hours), will be required to run three shifts and thus create a third stream of jobs.

3. Decentralise and convert the Labour Office into the National Employment Bureau equipped with state of-the-art facilities and Grant tax-waivers to employers who employ workers through the Bureau.

SOURCES OF AGENDA ONE (1) MILLION JOBS.

Distinguished friends from the media, contrary to claims by our opponents who have failed to deliver on their promises, the NDC has done all the needed research and analysis relative to this massive job creation agenda. We understand clearly how these jobs will be created and where the jobs will come from. And Ghanaians can trust H.E John Dramani Mahama and Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang to deliver a minimum of one million sustainable jobs when elected. This we will do by:

1. Stimulating sustainable Private Sector Jobs

Our plan is to stimulate the creation of sustainable jobs by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. One of the things we will do to achieve this is to significantly reduce the cost of doing business in Ghana through tax cuts, so that businesses are able to plough back their savings into their businesses, expand and create sustainable jobs. As we you may be aware, our continuous decline on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index under the Akufo Addo government, is mainly as a result of high tax payments. The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and other bodies have had cause to lament the crippling effect of high tax payments on their businesses under this government. This is why the next NDC/Mahama government will provide tax rebates for businesses such as:

A total scraping of the 25% corporate income tax for small businesses

A reduction of Corporate Income tax for medium-scale businesses from 25% to 15%.

A two (2) year Corporate Income tax exemption for newly incorporated medium-scale businesses that employ 20 people and above.

A Two (2)-year tax holiday for youth startups and businesses.

Reverse the increment in VAT that the Akufo-Addo government has introduced through the backdoor which has made it impossible for businesses to claim Input Tax Credit/refunds on 5% NHI and GETFUND levies.

Scrap Import Duty on commercial vehicles and vehicles and equipment imported into the country for agriculture, or agribusiness or industrial purposes.

These tax rebates will go a long way to reduce the cost of doing business so that businesses are able to inject the savings into their businesses for the creation of more jobs. Aside these tax incentives, the next NDC/Mahama government will undertake several productive and transformational initiatives in the private sector to create sustainable jobs with decent wages such as:

Provide cheap credit to Ghanaian businesses using the Ghana EXIM bank that the erstwhile Mahama government established in the year 2016. It is sad to note that under President Akufo-Addo, we are witnessing the misuse of Ghana EXIMbank funds to finance some mundane activities such as celebrity endorsement which have no relevance whatsoever to the object of this laudable export-driven fund. The next NDC/Mahama government will reverse this practice and channel such funds into Ghanaian businesses to promote exports and create sustainable jobs.

The Big Push - a $10 billion investment in infrastructure development across the country to close the infrastructure deficit facing the nation. It is worth mentioning that only local contractors, local architects, local artisans, local materials etc. will be used under this policy as a way of supporting Ghanaian indigenous businesses.

This will create about 90,000 jobs in the entire construction value chain every year.

Agriculture and Agribusinesses for both the domestic and export markets.

Currently, more than 50% of Ghana’s workforce are engaged in Agriculture. However, Agriculture contributes only a paltry 17% of Ghana’s GDP. That is to say, the country uses more than half (more than 50%) of its total workforce to produce just 17.3% of its wealth. What this means is that, majority of our population are wallowing in abject poverty. The vision of the NDC is to rapidly transform Agriculture through modernization and mechanization, with key focus on agribusiness as a means of creating sustainable jobs to liberate our people from poverty. Our policies in this area will be anchored on:

Increasing local production of cereal crops, starchy staple legumes, vegetables and other food products, through Agric mechanization and modernization, predicated on the reintroduction of Agric Mechanization Centers (AMSEC).

increasing the local processing of our local produce into secondary products through agribusinesses. We will create Agro-production and processing zones in all major crop producing areas across the country to provide farming/production, processing and marketing assistance to farmers in these zones.

Credit to promote Agriculture & Agribusiness

We will restructure rural credit and the Ghana Eximbank to improve credit to strategic agriculture and agribusiness activities. Additionally, we will incentivize the financial sector to devote a sizable amount of credit to agriculture and agribusiness.

The medium-term effect of these policies will place Ghana on the path of self-sufficiency in the production of commodities and the possibility of excess for export, stimulate economic growth and create opportunities for sustainable jobs in the agric/agribusiness value chain. This, we will do, with special focus on the establishment of strategic factories for the processing of Tree crops such as cocoa, cashew, Shea, Palm and rubber. This value-addition activity will help boost the income of farmers, increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings and create thousands of sustainable jobs for Ghanaians through industrialization.

D) Pharmaceuticals for domestic and export market.

Another area of focus for the NDC’s Jobs Agenda is the Pharmaceutical industry. Under the erstwhile NDC/Mahama government, the NDC supported local pharmaceutical companies with a stimulus package of $27 million in an effort to boost the local pharmaceutical industry to increase its market share. Ghanaian Indigenous Pharmaceutical Companies such as, Entrance Pharmaceuticals (Tobinco) was given US$6m, Ernest Chemists US$10m, Dannex US$3m, Danadams GHC$7m and Kinapharma GHC9.152m. This stimulus helped to increase local production of pharmaceuticals and created sustainable jobs for many.

As part of our job creation agenda, the next NDC Government will increase support to the local pharmaceutical industry by undertaking the following:

Roll out a Pharmaceutical Industry Financial and Technical Support Programme to expand the existing infrastructure and introduce modern technology into their operations to improve production.

We will also assist local pharmaceutical companies to secure licences to produce generic drugs for the local and sub-regional markets and prioritize the procurement of Made-in-Ghana drugs for the Ghana Health Service.

This we project will create thousands of sustainable jobs for Ghanaians over a period of four (4) years.

E) Light Manufacturing (apparels, accessories, gold processing, etc.)

Friends from the media, the next NDC/Mahama government intends to create thousands sustainable jobs through light manufacturing.

For instance, with regards to strategic minerals like gold, we intend to develop a national policy to restructure the small-scale mining sector as follows:

Set up a Gold Board (GOLDBOD) for the small-scale mining sector, to provide mining support services to the sector, ranging from concession viability, health, safety and efficiency in mining operations, equipment financing and mining input, research and standardization, gold recovery optimization as well as post-mining, and land reclamation services.

In doing this, we shall compel small-scale miners to undertake skills training in land reclamation techniques as a required component of their operations to minimize their adverse environmental impacts.

We shall also put a ban on the export of unrefined gold produced by the small-scale mining companies in Ghana, and establish gold refineries in gold producing regions of the country in conjunction with the private sector to refine our gold for exports.

This will create thousands of jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the mining sector, while protecting our environment, especially, our water bodies and forest reserves from further degradation.

2. SOURCES OF PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS

Friends from the media, the difference between the NDC’s one million Jobs Agenda as against the phantom jobs that President Akufo-Addo and the NPP are touting as having provided for Ghanaian youth is that, the Agenda One Million Jobs of the NDC as we earlier indicated is the product of broad consultations and sound research by an astute team who have led stellar careers, created jobs before and who understand the underpinnings of employment creation and labour economics.

The crack team that was assembled by the NDC’s Flag-bearer and Ghana’s incoming President, John Dramani Mahama to come out with a comprehensive policy on Job Creation, conducted a Human

Resource Gap (HR Gap) Analysis of Ghana’s Public sector. The result of this analysis confirmed that Ghana’s public sector is not operating at optimum level across all facets of the public service, when juxtaposed with international or globally accepted standards.

For instance, the HR Gap Analysis revealed that the Ghana Police Service requires a total of 35,020 additional personnel to enable the service operate at the optimal internationally required ratio of one Police Officer to 450 Civilians. What this means is that, the Ghana Police Service currently has an additional 35,020 vacancies that needs to be filled.

Similarly, our analysis of the Educational Management Information System (EMIS) data analysis revealed 98,650 vacancies in the Ghana Education Service. This fact is corroborated by ample anecdotal evidence of lack of teachers and teaching staff in so many schools across the country.

That of the Ghana Health Service is 76,795 vacancies, while the Ghana National Fire Service has 30,136 vacancies.

The analysis further revealed that the Ghana Immigration Service has an additional manpower deficit of 3,522, while the Ghana Prison Service needs an additional 7,925 personnel to enable it function optimally.

Also, the HR gap analysis revealed that the Local Government Service which is responsible for coordinating government’s decentralization agenda of taking development to the doorsteps of Ghanaians, has a total additional staff need of about 11,208, while the Forestry Commission, another State Agency which is responsible for the regulation of the utilization of forest and wildlife resources is also in need of over 1,200 new staff to effectively coordinate its conservation and management activities across the country.

The next NDC government is committed to creating sustainable jobs with decent wages in the Public sector by filling these vacancies over a period of four (4) years to enable our state institutions operate at optimal levels.

Additionally, the next NDC administration will roll out an effective Environmental Health Inspection programme that will engage about 25,400 staff, to help in public education on Preventive Health.

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) will also receive the needed boost in terms of personnel and resources as we intend to recruit additional 5,642 staff for that critical state Agency.

Also we shall establish Regional IT hubs which will engage 2,000 youth with IT background to provide ICT training to other young people across the country.

Again, under the General Revenue Enhancement Initiative, the next NDC government will engage 30,000 young people to augment the revenue generation activities of the state.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the net effect of the Public Sector HR Gap Analysis on job creation is that, the next NDC government will create a minimum of GH200,000 additional, decent and well-paid public sector jobs. This is a scientific job creation model backed by needs assessment and global best practice, and we are totally committed to it. The rationale is to ensure that we conform to internationally acceptable standards while guaranteeing productivity within the public sector.

Promoting Skills development for sustainable jobs.

Friends from the media, aside our one million jobs agenda, the next NDC/Mahama government shall aggressively pursue skills development programs to equip our human resource capital with employable skills as a means of addressing the high unemployment malaise confronting this country. Our Skills development program will be anchored on.

1. Free Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET)

The next NDC government in January 2021 shall introduce Free Technical and Vocational Education at both the Secondary and Tertiary levels. It is important to state that currently, there is no Free TVET at the tertiary level (Polytechnic/Technical Universities). Even at the Senior High School (SHS) level, majority of TVET schools like NVTI are not benefiting from the free SHS policy. This policy will ensure that any Ghanaian who is desirous of pursuing a vocational or technical course gets the opportunity to do so without paying a pessewa at the secondary school level to the tertiary level.

2. National Apprenticeship Program

The next NDC/Mahama shall also roll out a National Apprenticeship Program that will create many sustainable jobs for Ghanaians. Under this policy, any Ghanaian desirous to learn a craft will be enrolled into a training program as an apprentice under a registered master-craftsperson for free by government. These apprentices will be paid stipends to support their feeding, transportation among others, and they will be given a certificate upon the successful completion of their program. Finally, government will set them up with the necessary toolkits to start their businesses.

These skills development programs will build the productive capacities and enhance the employability of young people to be able to create their own jobs and employ other people.

Youth development Policies for Job creation

The NDC is committed to prioritizing youth development through various youth empowerment and entrepreneurship policies and programmes. We take cognizance of the growing disappointment and frustration among the youth as result of the unemployment situation in the country which has been worsened by the ill-conceived and vindictive actions of the Akufo-Addo administration that have collapses many businesses and jobs.

The next NDC government will harness the potential of our youth by implementing comprehensive, multifaceted and innovative programmes that will create sustainable jobs with decent wages for the youth. These will include:

The establishment of the Young Entrepreneurs Development Programme (YEDEP) to support young entrepreneurs with technical and financial start-ups to expand their business with zero percent interest.
The One Million Coders Programme (OMCP) which will provide free training to one million (1,000,000) youth in order to equip them with knowledge and skills for coding and programming, web developing, apps development, among others.
The 1 million coders policy is an innovative initiative designed to project Ghana into the limelight of the digital economy by placing focus on coding.

The support from government in partnership with the private sector will unlock the potential of about a million young people whose ideas will be facilitated through coding. Via this vehicle, we will have relevant responses to local and global challenges, as our coders will learn how to harness their skills to improve their livelihoods. They will also become competitive by being available to multinationals who are already hiring our people with these skills.

Develop the Youth Enterprise Tax Waiver Policy to grant a 2-year tax holiday for youth startups/businesses.
Extend training and start-up kits for artisans in each district across the country based on the LESDEP model.
These and several other initiatives will be implemented to generate decent and well-paid jobs for our teeming unemployed youth.

NABCO BENEFICIARIES

The next NDC government will integrate all persons currently engaged on ad hoc basis under the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) into the Public sector and make them permanent employees. We will change the remuneration of NABCO beneficiaries from their current pittance allowances to decent wages that offer these young ones a decent living. NABCO recruits can rest assured that under President John Dramani Mahama, they will have permanent jobs and be paid on time.

FUNDING SOURCES FOR THE AGENDA ONE MILLION JOBS

Friends from the inky fraternity, we in the NDC are not oblivious of the huge financial commitment that comes with our ambitious Job Creation agenda. We are however convicted in our resolve to deliver on our pledge to create a minimum of one million sustainable when elected because Ghanaians are need of it for survival.

Having done a critical analysis of our resource envelope vis-à-vis our current public spending, we have identified key areas we can conserve resources and free up fiscal space to fund our policies and programs including “Edwumapa”.

To start with, we will reset government’s spending priorities from consumption-related expenditures to Capital and productive expenditures that will create jobs and prosperity for all.

Also, we will cut down wasteful expenditures by reducing the number of Ministers by at least 40, which will translate into a saving of GH¢63,424,000.00. We also intend to reduce the number of Presidential Staffers by at least 200, thereby saving the public purse about GH¢186,400,000.00 in four (4) years.

More importantly, we shall employ advanced technology to enhance and maximize revenue mobilization by ensuring strict tax compliance, the expansion of the tax net and efficient revenue mobilization. Under the E-Proceed GRA Revenue Monitoring Project which we will be introducing, we project to generate at least GHS3,000,000,000 on an annual basis to fund the “Edwumapa” initiative. We also intend to Revise the tax waiver regime to make available GH¢460,000,000.00 to fund job-related initiatives.

Additionally, we shall channel a greater percentage of our oil revenues, that is the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) from our three (3) oil fields into developmental and productive initiatives to create sustainable jobs for Ghanaians.

These are but a few of the measures we intend to undertake to generate the needed revenue to fund our vision for jobs and other policies. Let no one deceive you that this is not possible. It is very possible and we shall deliver.

CONCLUSION

Distinguished colleagues from the media, Job creation will be the cardinal priority of the next NDC government. Our flagship One Million Jobs Pledge dubbed “Edwumapa”, is not one of the usual political grandstanding sloganeering that has become synonymous with our opponents in government today. On the contrary, “Edwumapa” is a product of deep soul-searching in our bid to find answers to the age-old problem of graduate and youth unemployment that continues to plague our nation.

It is our view, that if our nation fails to harness the productive energies of young people to develop Ghana, our country may one day pay dearly for the misuse of these very productive potentials of our youth in ways that can hurt both present and future generations.

It is for this reason that the Nation Builder, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama and the NDC are making an appeal to the Ghanaian electorate to choose the real, concrete and decent jobs that we are offering over the few ad hoc programs that the Akufo-Addo government has continuously trumpeted.

To the millions of unemployed people in Ghana today, particularly the youth, please don’t despair. There is hope for you in the Peoples’ manifesto. Vote John Dramani Mahama and the NDC for One Million permanent and decent well-paid jobs.

May God bless our homeland Ghana.

Signed,

SAMMY GYAMFI Esq.

(National Communication Officer)