Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta
- Advertisement -

The government has called for a national conversation towards fashioning a comprehensive measure in tackling the country’s graduate unemployment menace which is described as a national security risk.

Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, who made the call, said although the government was taking measures to address the problem, there was a need for a national debate on the various approaches out of which a collective solution could be developed.

Speaking at the National Post 2018 Budget Forum in Accra today, Mr Ofori-Atta was optimistic that a national consensus on addressing graduate unemployment would make the interventions more sustainable.

- advertisement -

Among the measures aimed to fight the unemployment menace, the government, in the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy presented to Parliament last week, announced plans to set up a National Builders Brigade which has a target of employing 100,000 graduates for the various sectors of the economy next year.

But economic analysts have criticised the intervention, saying it would increase the already high wage bill which continues to suffocate successive governments.

The analysts believe that the appropriate measure to take is to support the private sector, especially the industrial subsector to expand to be able to absorb the thousands of graduate churned out annually by tertiary institutions.

The Finance Minister told the forum, organised by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) that although the government was mindful of the effect of the National Builders Brigade jobs on government expenditure, it considered the benefits from those jobs as far reaching for the economy.

“There must be a national agenda of where we are going on job creation,” he said, adding that although the government would continue to play its role, other stakeholders, particularly the private sector need to support job creation efforts actively.

Dr Eric Osei-Asibey, a Senior Lecturer at the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, who was one of the four panelists, criticised government’s approach to addressing the unemployment problem, saying most of the public interventions were unsustainable.

He cited previous job creation initiatives such as the modules under the Youth Employment Agency, saying that they have not had the necessary impact, but rather burdened the public purse.

According to him, instead of introducing more of such initiatives, the government should rather create the congenial business environment to support the private sector to spearhead job creation.

He believed that when the private sector is offered the appropriate support through a meaningful reduction in taxes, companies can expand and employ more workers.

“This is a more sustainable and productive way of addressing the unemployment problem,” he said.

By Nii Adotey/