The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) Ghana has observed that the country’s energy crisis is posing a serious threat to the Government’s National Employment and National Self-Employment policies.
The Upper East Regional Industrial Relation Officer of ICU-Ghana, Mr Rudolph Agamu , who made the observation during a passing out ceremony of the graduates of the Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association(GHABA) in Bolgatanga, indicated that, whilst many private sectors had laid off some of their workers , others who had the intention of establishing their own companies could not do so due to the energy crisis.
He said between January and March 2015, over 500 people lost their jobs because of the deepening energy crisis and worsening economic conditions.
“About 2,000 workers are likely to lose their jobs by June this year if the energy crisis and the business environment see no improvement. The revelation is based on the official communication the Union received from the over 60 major companies, made up of both local and multinationals in the country.
The companies are considering a complete shutdown. Reasons for the imminent massive job losses are not far-fetched, but the current power crisis is said to have further compounded an already unfriendly business operating environment,” he indicated.
He said the informal sector, under the umbrella of ICU-Ghana, complemented government’s efforts in job creation, particularly self-employment, but cannot do so now.
He cited for instance that, in June last year, a total of 150 apprentices in hairdressing and textiles hand weavers passed out within the Bolgatanga municipality but most of them could not start work due to the energy crisis, the national economic challenges, high interest rates and bank charges, among others.
He said in order to get the National Employment Policy effectively implemented; there was the urgent need for government to ensure regular supply of energy to industries to propel them to create jobs.
“The situation of combining the energy crisis with the implementation of the national employment policy would create a conflicting relation that will not help in national development.
The union urged government to pay serious attention to the power crisis”, and urged it, to as a matter of urgency organise a national forum on the power crisis to bring stakeholders together to deliberate and share ideas on the way to deal with the problem.
“Such a forum would bring experts, who have remained dormant all over the years to these national challenges, to help contribute workable solutions to the energy problems in the country”
He also called on the government to strengthen its trade policies, to save local industries from the threat it faces from imported goods.
He appealed to the Municipal and District Assemblies to construct markets in all the districts for people working in the informal sector to help sustain the economy.