In view of the number of people who have lost their jobs since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, and the anticipated effect the new wave would have on jobs, the Director General of the Ghana Standards Authority, Prof. Alex Dodoo has said that every recovery programme to be devised by government must not only center on sustainability but also the creation of new jobs.
According to him, any move other than that mentioned above, would create a high level of insecurity going into the future considering the number of people who were already battling for jobs and the additional numbers that have been added to the unemployed data because of the outbreak of the pandemic.
Speaking at an event to mark the 2021 International Customs Day celebration in Accra, Mr. Dodoo said: “We hope to collaborate with customs to ensure that as we open our borders, quality and standards would remain key. We are looking forward to collaborating with customs as we build resilience for a smooth recovery focusing on one thing and one key thing, the creation of jobs.
As we all begin to go digital and work from home, the frustration of job seekers is heightened because they are in the queue to join the bus and everybody in the bus has been asked to go and sit down at home, so, there is frustration, helplessness and hopelessness. We have a responsibility; everyone, to try and create a recovery which focuses on creating jobs and opportunity. It is a difficult one but Ghana can do it.”
According to the 2020 Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) COVID-19 Business Tracker Survey results, 770,000 workers had their wages reduced and 42,000 workers were laid-off during Ghana’s COVID-19 partial lockdown. There are growing fears among employers that these numbers might escalate if measures are not put in place to stop the new wave of the pandemic the country is battling.
The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) is extremely worried about the surge in COVID-19 cases. It’s worry is born out of the fact that many businesses are yet to recover from the first wave which led to a three-week national lockdown; and therefore, if the recent wave is not controlled and spirals out of control, there would be catastrophic effect on businesses and jobs – especially the small and medium enterprises sector.
With the disruption of global supply chains due to the effect of COVID-19, GEA has appealed to the government to identify and financially support organizations that have the capacity to produce the same or substitute raw materials locally, to keep industries functioning.
Chief Executive Officer of the GEA, Alex Frimpong, in an interview with the B&FT said: “In the early stages of the pandemic, government supported businesses to stay on their feet so with the challenge at hand, we want a careful study done, so that producers of local substitutes of these imported raw materials can be found. When this is done, we need to support them in their operations to help industries run and keep people in jobs as well as feed the population with some essential goods.”