The government has stated that the economy is set to create more jobs in both the formal and the informal sectors as various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) complete different pipeline projects and implement new interventions.
“With the economy having achieved considerable stability and expansion, in addition to demonstrating resilience in the face of global economic challenges on the commodity market and the coming on stream of pipeline projects, we are convinced the recent discussions and concerns raised about the issue of job creation can be mutually beneficial if it is situated within the context of specific measures taken to address the long-standing global and national problem — unemployment,” it said.
This was contained in a statement signed and issued by the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, in Accra yesterday.
It said several interventions had been initiated aimed at creating more jobs, as well as helping the private sector to expand and create job opportunities for the youth.
While acknowledging the need to do more to absorb the large number of unemployed youth, the government said through direct government intervention and partnerships with the private sector, numerous jobs had been created.
“Between 2013 and 2015, the government, through the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), supported local industries to the tune of GHc245.4 million.
“This amount funded over 125 different projects in the production of pharmaceuticals, rice, sheanut, poultry, textiles, etc. This has created jobs for thousands of Ghanaians.
“Under the Skills Development Fund, a total of GHc150 million has been disbursed to 654 businesses who have trained 93,600 people in various skills across all sectors of the economy. A total of 43,485 businesses have also received various forms of support under the fund,” the statement said.
It further indicated that President John Dramani Mahama was ensuring the award of contracts to print textbooks for schools exclusively to local printing firms.
“In all, about GHc100 million worth of contracts will be awarded to create jobs for an estimated 4,000 people. To further facilitate their businesses, duties on the importation of raw materials for printing textbooks have been removed.
“The printing and distribution of over 100 million exercise books under the free exercise books initiative has created thousands of jobs since its inception in 2010. The distribution of over two million school uniforms under the Free School Uniforms Programme has also created thousands of jobs for people engaged to produce these uniforms,” it said.
Additionally, it noted that some programmes had created a corresponding number of jobs.
For instance, it mentioned that under the Free Zones Board, 69 companies were established between 2013 and 2015, leading to the employment of 16,372 people.
“The Youth in Agriculture programme employed 23,000 youth in 2013, bringing the total number of young farmers in the programme to 81,150. The National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI)I, the Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skill (ICCES) and the Opportunities Industrialisation Centres (OICs) have employed 21,802,” it said.
“The Micro Finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) advanced micro credit to a total of 190,607 beneficiaries between 2010 and 2015. This has enabled the beneficiaries to set up micro businesses which are offering jobs to themselves and others. They have also distributed 953 vehicles for commercial transport, 814 tricycles for commercial transport, as well as 25 tractors for agricultural use,” it said.
YES and YEA jobs
It said some factories, including the Kumasi Shoe Factory (DIHOC), the Ghana National Gas Processing Plant, Atuabo, and the Shea nut processing plant at Buipe either owned in whole or in part by the government had created 200, 265 and 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, respectively.
Also, it said some projects scheduled for completion in 2016 would create a number of jobs, adding that the Business Process Outsourcing Centre near the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange had been completed and would create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“Another Business Process Outsourcing Centre has been completed by the Ministry of Communications at the Tema ICT Park in the Free Zones Enclave and is already employing about 250 people. The Komenda Sugar Factory, 7,300 direct (those employed by the factory) and indirect jobs (outgrowers of sugar cane to feed the factory); the New Fish Processing Factory at Elmina, 2,500 direct and indirect jobs; the Tema Harbour expansion, 3,000 jobs, and the Takoradi Harbour expansion, 3,000,” it stated.
The Youth Entrepreneurial Agency (YEA), it said, was in the process of employing a minimum of 100,000 youth under nine modules.
The breakdown, it indicated, was: sanitation, 45,000; security services module, 5,000; community teaching assistants,10,000; paid internship, 5,000; health extension workers,10,000; youth in agric and agri-business, 20,000; trades and vocation, 20,000, and vacation jobs, 5,000.
“The first batch of 107 beneficiaries of the Youth Enterprise Support (YES) project has received financial support to establish and grow their own businesses after intensive training and mentoring in business management.
“Over 400,000 professionals such as architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, masons, carpenters, welders, steel benders, electricians, painters, among others, are currently employed at various sites where direct government investment in the construction of hospitals, roads, schools, water projects, energy projects, housing projects and markets are underway,” the statement said.
Youth in Agric
In the area of agriculture, it said, a number of initiatives had either been launched or preparations were underway to ensure job creation.
Some of these initiatives, it said, were the distribution of 110 million cocoa seedlings to farmers, at no cost, in the 2014/2015 and the current 2015/2016 crop seasons from 87 nursery sites, saying “this has created 9,000 jobs across 418 nurseries”.
“Under the programme to encourage more people, especially the youth, to enter into cocoa farming, government, through COCOBOD, has put together a motivation package. The package includes the provision of effective extension support, free cocoa seedlings and free sulphate of ammonia fertilizer to boost early growth, among others.
The role of the private sector
While acknowledging the role of the private sector — both formal and informal — in creating jobs, the statement said with the relative stability of the macroeconomic environment, the economy was expected to expand between now and the years ahead, leading to “massive” job creation and economic empowerment for all.
“It will be recalled that barely two weeks ago (12th April, 2016) the World Bank was on record to have stated that ‘Ghana’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to rebound to 5.2 per cent in 2016 from 3.4 per cent in 2015, reflecting the positive impact of a more stable energy supply and increased contribution from the oil and gas and agriculture industries’.
“The government of President Mahama remains committed to fiscal discipline even as we implement zero per cent financing from the Bank of Ghana, the lender of last resort. We shall sustain the gains and ensure they translate into more jobs to empower the citizenry. Let us continue to be hopeful; for just as many have been employed in both the public and private sectors, there are many more job opportunities in the months and years ahead,” it said.