Financial analyst and social commentator, Sydney Casley Hayford, has said it is troubling that the country has not been able to put together credible data on the country’s employed and unemployed population.
According to him, this is something all successive governments have struggled with for a long time.
Speaking on the Citi FM’s analysis programme, The Big Issue, he said governments over the years have failed to get the figures together because they consider it a difficult task.
“Our failure is in thinking that it is a complicated difficult job that we have to keep postponing because nobody can find an answer, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) last government postponed it for 8 years, and they didn’t put any employment statics out there, prior to that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government between 2001 and 2008, they didn’t put out any employment statistics either,” he said.
According to him, this is something government should not be skipping because systems are already in place to make the collation of such data much easier.
He stated that the easiest way or the first step, is for government to go to the various universities and get data on the number of people who are have graduated, and from that, they can get follow up to get more information on the number of people a company hires and fires at a point in time.
“There are systems already designed of how people collect unemployment information and put it out there, at least we will know and should know, how many graduates come out of the university and how many of them are employed, and not employed in a particular year,” Hayford said.
He said such information is critical to how the problem of unemployment will be solved.
Reacting to a question about the number of jobs his government had created at the second media encounter at the Flagstaff House on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo said, he did not have statistics on the country’s employment data, and that he was unsure it existed.
He, however noted that, the government was in the process of collating it, and it would be ready by the April 2018.
“The statistics on the jobs…. I am barely one year in office. Some of these statistics are being collected as we speak now so the labour statistics as to the number of jobs that have been created, those are not statistics that are at hand anywhere. Even for the government, I believe that they are in the process of being assembled, so perhaps in 2 or 3 months, we will be in a better position to answer that question in a more effective manner,” the President said.
Many have said his response was unsatisfactory, with the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress [NDC], Joseph Nii Ade Coker, saying the President’s confession that he did not readily have statistics on the number jobs his government has created is unpardonable.
Gov’t policies can go ahead ‘without employment data’
A Deputy Minister for Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, has argued that the government’s policies and programs aimed at ensuring development in the country can go ahead, whiles efforts are being made to collate the necessary data on the country’s labour force.
According to him, the government must not halt its activities due to the unavailability of up-to-date employment figures.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show in reaction to the President’s answer to the question, he said, “it is wrong to say that because of all these inadequacies, the government is not in the position to design policies to improve the unemployment situation…The strategies to know accurately how many are unemployed and what kind of employment they are looking for is not something we can do overnight and we cannot wait to do all that before we design policies to address unemployment”.
‘Foundation laid for jobs’
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said in December 2017 that the government has put structures in place to ensure that the country’s unemployment challenges are addressed.
According to Nana Addo, despite inheriting an economy in dire straits, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has worked assiduously towards ensuring that job opportunities are created for Ghanaians.
“We’ve had important challenges; Invincible and Delta Forces and the tensions at the grassroots of the party over jobs. I appreciate very much the anxiety over jobs. What I’m saying is that, the foundation has been laid for jobs. It has not been easy because we inherited a bankrupt economy, but because of the ingenuity of the people I’m working with, we’ve been able to lay a good foundation,” the President said.
“Let us remain united and confident, we are on the right path and soon it will be obvious to everybody. Our race is not a sprint, it is a cross-country, it is a marathon race and we are going to win at the end, not just at the beginning.”