Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has indicated that government remains fully committed to implementing the National Unemployment Insurance Scheme (NUIS), announced last year to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on job losses, with phase one to start in September 2021.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament in presenting the mid-year budget, the finance minister stated that the phase-one of the scheme, which is focused on training or retraining of youth who have lost their job and need to move on to new areas, will be launched by end of September and rolled out across the country by the end of the year.
It would be recalled that, in the 2020 mid-year budget review, Mr. Ofori-Atta stated that as part of measures to mitigate the impact of unanticipated future socioeconomic crisis such as COVID-19 pandemic on Ghanaian workers, government was introducing the NUIS to provide temporary income support to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of theirs but as a result of unanticipated events.
This, the minister explained, has been fine-tuned to comprise a training/retraining component to assist the unemployed improve their skills or acquire new skills to increase their chances of securing a new job.
“Whilst we are currently in the design phase of the NUIS, the implementation of the training and retraining component of the programme has been frontloaded and it is at advanced stages of implementation,” he said.
Furthermore, he reiterated that government together with social partners have decided to pilot the national training and retraining programme in the two sectors that were mostly affected by the pandemic, namely, private education sector and the hospitality and tourism sector.
“Under the supervision of the Steering Committee, the Technical Committee both with representatives from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Organised Labour and Employers Association, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, have developed a concept note, a training plan, the relevant courses, and the beneficiary selection criteria,” he said.
To ensure that the programme achieves its intended target and reaches the very people that need it, as well as ensure easy access to applying and getting all the information and the new normal driven by digitization, the Mr. Ofori Atta hinted that the necessary procurement approvals have been secured and a website platform for the implementation of the project has been designed.
He emphasised that government is very committed to making sure the NUIS initiative is a success and, as such, key stakeholders are currently being consulted to inform the design of the scheme. “The consultations will be scaled up to include more stakeholders and technical experts to ensure that the project design suits the Ghanaian labour market.”
Unemployment continues to be a key challenge to the national development agenda. A significant proportion of the labour force, particularly the youth, is faced with the challenge of not finding jobs within the labour market.
The Ghana Living Standards Survey Round Seven, 2019 (GLSS 7) of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) estimates, that the overall unemployment rate for the country is 8.4 percent, whereas, the youth unemployment rate (15-35 years) is 12.6 percent.