The president of the Greater Accra Markets Association, Mercy Afrowa Needjan, has called for the involvement of market associations in critical national development planning to build stronger value chains that will ensure an efficient food ecosystem, revitalise the economy and create jobs.
According to the president, market women play a critical role in the economy – especially in the agriculture and food value chains – but are often ignored in deliberations, which creates loopholes in implementing certain policies… particularly those relating to retail of daily consumer goods.
She strongly opined that government needs to create platforms for stakeholder engagement between public, private, academic and market women associations, to strengthen collaborations with the agricultural sector and revitalise the economy, streamline prices, enhance competition in local and international markets, and create sustainable jobs.
“Our markets are the lifeblood of the agricultural and informal sector, and a major source of revenue for metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and the economy at large. However, most often we are seen as illiterates who have nothing to offer; but we hold critical ideas and solutions that can help solve some of the problems in the ecosystem.
“By revitalising the informal sector, which forms over 70 percent of our national economy, we will enhance competition in the domestic and international markets and create job opportunities that drive economic growth,” she said.
Queen Mother Naa Afrowa Needjan further mentioned that the informal sector comprises markets and is essential for regional and national development. She said the informal sector provides jobs for over a third of the employed population, with agriculture, forestry and fishing accounting for 38.3 percent of employment; followed by wholesale and retail, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles at 21.3 percent, and manufacturing at 16.1 percent.
She made these remarks at the 4th Annual National Precision Quality (PQ) Conference organised by the Design and Technology Institute (DTI) under the auspices of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) to highlight the critical role of labour market information systems (LMIS) in stimulating job creation.
The conference was under the theme ‘Utilising LMIS to galvanise job creation and strengthen the collaboration among stakeholders’. It brought together representatives from the public and private sectors, youth organisations and the media to deliberate on the importance of developing a robust LMIS that effectively addresses the employment needs of Ghanaians.
Founder and CEO of DTI, Constance Elizabeth Swaniker, on her part stated that the PQ approach has helped to create jobs and improve skills in Ghana by developing systems which address the training needs of people and industry.
This year’s conference theme is very significant, considering Ghana’s current economic challenges. By better understanding the labour market, stakeholders can identify where there are skills-shortages and opportunities to create new jobs, she said.
This, she added, will help to develop policies and plan education and training to support job creation and economic growth.
“We are excited to work with our stakeholders, including government, to produce a world-class workforce by building a demand-driven, robust labour market and skills intelligence system that creates jobs and drives economic growth,” she said.