Government is working to create more opportunities to provide sustainable jobs to the bulging youth population but the private sector must assist in creating more, Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, has said.
“Everybody that comes out of school wants to get a government job. Today, government is the biggest employer in Ghana – which, of course, in most developed countries doesn’t happen like that. Our wage bill alone in Ghana is about GH¢15billion. No country can survive with this gargantuan demand as far as salaries are concerned.
“So, it has become very important that the private sector moves into the next gear and assists us in job-creation; that is the reason government is doing everything to support the private sector in developing our industrial ecosystem,” he said at the maiden ‘My Future 2019’ Job Fair, organised by Project Assist Global, a project management consulting and training company in Tema.
He pointed out that with government using 45 percent of its revenues to pay salaries, only 55 percent is left to pay off interest on loans and spend on health, education, agriculture and all other sectors.
“It is important that we encourage the business sector, or the private sector, to actually move to the larger scale where they will employ double or quadruple the numbers they are employing currently. Ghana has a youthful population, with 57 percent of our population being under 25 years. Just imagine we have a population which is that young and will be looking for jobs. Whether you have it or not, they have to survive,” he said.
He explained that through government’s 10-point industrialisation agenda, thousands of jobs are being created on a monthly basis across the country, with more to follow. Expanding on the industrial plans, he touched on the National Industrial Revitalisation Programme that is referred to as ‘the stimulus package’, which is reviving economically viable companies that are near collapse.
He also touched on the One District, One Factory that is putting a factory in each of the 254 districts of the country; the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO), which has placed 100,000 young Ghanaians in various institutions to gain work experience; the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), where US$100million has been allocated in the budget for the Ministry of Business Development to develop the innovation and creativity of these youth.
“Beyond all these, under the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Rural Enterprises Programme, we have what we call the ‘Enabling Youth’ policy whereby we are further developing creativity and innovativeness in the youth and giving funding for them to develop their ideas and create employment where they can earn some income for themselves,” he said.
Kudos to Project Assist Global
He lauded Project Assist Global for organising a fair of this nature to help the youth of Tema get ready for the job market.
“We would encourage Project Assist Global to do even more. I want this company to consider if it is possible to move into career guidance counselling for our second cycle institutions, so that even before the kids enter tertiary institutions they will know what they want to do. I am positive that if we start from that tender age, it is going to help the nation and business community,” he added.
Holding job fairs everywhere
Mr. Ahenkorah, while offering the ministry’s support in subsequent job fairs, also urged Project Assist Global to organise job fairs of this nature at the tertiary institutions. “The Ministry of Trade will partner you in your next steps to get this job fair ethos enlarged. Beyond that, we will also communicate with some of the blue-chip companies in Ghana to participate, like the MTNs, and also see if it is possible for a few government agencies to participate.”
Anita Appiah, Managing Director of Project Assist Global, explained that the aim of the fair is to provide a matching platform connecting reputable employers and recruiters to ready-made talent.
“This maiden job fair, the first of its kind, has a particular group of young people in mind: those who for various reasons were not able to continue their education beyond SHS; and those who have completed their national service and are yet to find full-time employment,” she said.
The job fair
The fair saw 1,000 unique visitors come together with 90 exhibitors from both the private and public sectors to support the goal of creating more employment opportunities, especially for the teeming unemployed youth of Tema. Through Curriculum Vitae Clinics and Interview Coaching, there were opportunities for the youth to sharpen their skill-sets, network, and interact with corporate bodies, state institutions and others.
Other speakers included Phyllis Wontumi, an HR expert who addressed the audience on HR Related Issues in Ghana; Rev. Moses Tetteh, a youth ambassador, delivered a talk on Entrepreneurship and Youth Job Creation; and Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah, CEO-AllTime Finance and Eagle Learning Institute, spoke on Self Leadership.