Discussions on the rising unemployment rate in Ghana has taken centre stage in the ongoing 69th Annual New Year School and Conference of the University of Ghana, as speakers attempt to offer solutions to address the challenge.
The Conference, which has the theme, “Job creation for Accelerated National Development: The role of the private sector,” seeks to develop practical measures to address the worsening graduate unemployment situation in the country urgently.
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, who opened the School, described the unemployment situation as a national security threat that has to be addressed.
Although he gave the assurance that the government was working towards creating an enabling environment that would allow the private sector to thrive to drive the job creation agenda, he admits it is a major national security issue.
“High unemployment is a key and a most pressing issue of our time. It is a national security issue because the devil finds work for idle hands. Ultimately the high level of unemployment is a reflection of the underlined weaknesses in our economy. This is why the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has placed job creation as the number one priority of government,” he said.
As part of government’s efforts to address the menace, Dr Bawumia reiterated government’s plans to create jobs for 100, 000 unemployed graduates in 2018 through the Nation Builders Corps initiative.
The programme was announced as a government initiative in the 2018 budget to provide the jobs at the cost of GH¢ 600 million.
The focus of the initiative is to improve public service delivery in health, education, agriculture, sanitation and also drive revenue mobilization and collection.
Business mogul, Sir Sam Jonah, Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital, in his presentation, urged both government and private sector businesses to create more jobs as that will help secure the peace and stability of the country.
According to him, youth unemployment remains a critical and scary threat to the country’s peace and economy.
He cited an example where over 15,000 unemployed youth stormed the El Wak Sports Stadium in Accra for a recruitment exercise into the Ghana Immigration Service, out of which only 500 were expected to be recruited.
Describing the situation as a “sad spectacle”, he said the immigration recruitment incident tells the level of joblessness crisis in the country which must be addressed soon before it before it explodes.
“This crisis calls for bold and urgent action. Indeed the urgency of job creation becomes even more obvious when we look at Ghana’s demographics. As we all know 60% of our population is under the age of 35, and in this regard, I’m sure you will agree with me that unemployment in general and youth unemployment, in particular, has become a critical national security issue,” he added.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com