Ghana launches National Employment Policy

President John Mahama
President John Mahama

The government has launched a National Employment Policy (NEP) as part of efforts to deal comprehensively with the growing unemployment challenge in the country.

The policy document was launched on Wednesday by President John Dramani Mahama at the opening ceremony of a two-day National Job Summit in Accra; with Mr Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation as guest speaker.

The overall goal of the NEP “is to create gainful and decent employment opportunities for the growing labour force to improve their living conditions and contribute to economic growth for national development within the framework of equity, fairness, security and dignity”.

It was developed taking into account the historical antecedents of employment interventions implemented by governments during the colonial and post-colonial eras.

The Policy is expected to achieve four major objectives of creating more decent jobs to meet the growing demand for employment and to improve the quality of jobs for those who are employed.

The NEP is also expected to increase labour productivity and strengthen governance and labour administration in the country.

The National Job Summit on the theme: “Inclusive growth through the creation of productive employment and decent work,” was organised to among other things provide the platform for social partners, ministries, departments and agencies, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, the private sector and development partners to deliberate on unemployment and under-employment challenges.

It would propose concrete national and sector specific responses within the framework of the NEP and to promote entrepreneurial spirit for self-employment through exhibitions of products and services of selected well-to-do enterprises.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said: “Social dialogue has never been an easy path but it is the right way, thankfully for Ghana, we have a strong tripartite of government, employers and labour working alike rooted on strong foundations of freedom of association guaranteed and promoted.”

He said the importance of the Job Summit cannot be underestimated because of the increasing need for the country to create sustainable employment opportunities for the teeming youth, women and persons with disability and the population in general.

“Even though the Ghana Living Standards Survey Six of 2013/14 puts the unemployment rate at 5.2, the economic and social cost of unemployment, long-term unemployment and vulnerable employment continue to present a security concern for every government,” the Minister said.

“Decent work continue to exhibit deficits in both the formal and informal sectors, which many a time should be avoidable with just a little coordinated effort by social partners,” he added.

He said the challenge of the unemployed may appear daunting, yet Ghana’s vibrant youth at the same time represent an enormous opportunity, particularly as the population in the developed world was aging.

“Many of our young people are still suffering from skills mismatch,” he observed.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, General Secretary of Trades Union Congress urged government to resolve the energy crisis facing the nation; which according to him is having a serious consequence on industry and labour.

Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, First Vice President of Ghana Employers Association said, from January this year to date; about 12,600 workers have lost their jobs due to the on-going energy crisis.

He also appealed to government to put in all efforts to address the situation.

Dr William Baah Boateng, Labour Economist, Department of Economics, University of Ghana gave an overview of the Employment situation in Ghana and the NEP.

He said the need for labour market data to inform policy development and decision making cannot be overemphasised.

He observed that the rate of unemployment among the educated in the country is higher than the uneducated because the educated are mainly looking forward to be employed by someone and not trying to go into entrepreneurship.

Mrs Cecilia Johnson, Chairman of the Council of State, who chaired the function, described the National Job Summit as a step in the right direction to help address the unemployment situation in the country.
Source: GNA

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