Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has said correct data, laws and policies as well as capacity building for all tripartite constituents of child labour, would ensure sustainable progress in the fight against the menace.
In this regard, he said stakeholders in the fight against child labour must redirect their focus to create a more dynamic and sustained momentum in local communities and strengthen educational outcomes for children to be enrolled and retained in school.
Mr Awuah was speaking at a durbar held in Cape Coast to commemorate this year’s World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) on Tuesday.
The celebration, under the theme: “Resist Child: Improve the safety and health of young workers towards achieving SDG Goal 8”, aimed at raising awareness and providing platform for a call to action on the urgent need to eliminate all forms of child labour.
He indicated the need to promote safe and healthy working conditions of young workers while streamlining issues of child labour in a collective bargaining agreement.
Mr Awuah noted that despite efforts to eliminate the incidence of child labour, the phenomenon still persisted and endemic in many communities, especially in deprived ones.
He said it was against that background that the phase II of the National Plan of Action against Child Labour was formulated by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in collaboration with key stakeholders.
The NPA II, he said would be implemented with more vigour and within a robust frame of collaboration and coordination among partners in the context of effective monitoring and accountability.
He called on stakeholders to support all preparatory efforts towards the effective implementation of the action plan, adding that, the NPA II would significantly reduce the incidence of child labour if effectively implemented.
He stressed the need to build a generation of safe and healthy children starting from schools for the children to be aware of the associated risks of hazardous work and to be able to advocate on their own behalf.
“It is essential that children are able to exercise their rights and voice their concerns anytime that are confronted with the menace” he added.
Mr Awuah said achievement of SDG 8 would require that public authorities, employers, workers and their organisations as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and NGOs to collaborate to create a culture of prevention that focused on the safety and health of the next generation of the global workforce.
Mr James Lykos, Deputy Director at the Office of Economic Growth of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) advised children not to be seduced by money but focus on getting a good education to start a good career.
He urged parents to be bold to resist the temptation of financial stressed to force their children into hazardous work which would hinder their educational and social progression.
He said the US government would continue to partner the government of Ghana to combat child labour and expressed the hope that such collaborative efforts would improve the livelihoods of communities and eventually eradicate child labour and trafficking in Ghana.
Mr Thomas Agyei Baffour, Deputy Central Regional Minister noted that child labour and human trafficking affects the social development of victims and called for a more holistic and frontal attack on the pervasive social canker.
Representatives from the Trade Union Congress, Ghana Coalition of NGOs on the rights of the child, Ghana Employment Association took turns to address the gathering on the need to end child labour in all forms.