MPs clash over unemployment situation

BY: Musah Yahya Jafaru
 Mr Bright Wireko-Brobby and Mr Richard Quashigah
Mr Bright Wireko-Brobby and Mr Richard Quashigah

The Majority and Minority Members of Parliament have clashed over the unemployment situation in the country during the debate on the 2018 budget statement.

While the Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, Mr Richard Quashigah, criticised the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy as being silent on job creation, the member for Hemang-Lower Denkyira and Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Bright Wireko-Brobby, refuted the claim.

Contributing to the debate, Mr Quashigah said the budget did not give any hope to the teeming youth who the government had promised jobs.

However, Mr Wireko-Brobby, refuted that claim and indicated that the budget had outlined measures to create jobs for the youth.

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Besides, he said, the government offered opportunity for the youth to access loans to develop their own businesses.

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No jobs

Mr Quashigah said in 2017, the budget presented was titled, "Sowing the Seed for Growth and Jobs", while that of 2018 was "Putting Ghana Back to Work".

For instance, he said in the 2017 budget, the government promised to create 750,000 jobs under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

However, he added: "In this budget, nothing has been said about the creation of the 750,000 jobs.

"This government rode on the path of employment and creating jobs. Today, we don't have evidence of the creation of the jobs that have been promised. It is an indication that Ghanaians have been deceived or misled," he said.

Mr Quashigah said the joblessness in Ghana, which was increasing, had been recognised by many, and indicated that "the issue of job creation has overwhelmed the government."

For instance, he said, the 2017 budget had promised to establish 51 factories under the one-district, one-factory policy.

However, he said, "not a single factory has been put up and, therefore, no job has been created."

Mr Quashigah mentioned that the fight against ‘galamsey’, although good, had been haphazardly carried out, with people with genuine documents affected.

He explained that the loss of jobs by the miners with genuine documents had increased the joblessness situation.

More jobs

Mr Wireko-Brobby said it was because of the many avenues of job creation in the 2018 budget that it was christened 'adwuma' or job budget.

Mr Wireko-Brobby said in August this year,  $10 million was allocated under the National Entrepreneurial Innovation Plan for the youth to submit their business proposals to access the money.

He said 5,500 applications were received and 500 of the applications had been approved.

"Just last week, about 100 graduates have been assisted to begin this innovation. Each will employ 12 workers to create about 6,000 jobs," he said.

Mr Wireko-Brobby said under the Planting for Food and Jobs, 2,160 students of the colleges of agriculture had been engaged.