Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations Bright Wireko-Brobby has disclosed the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has created 2.2 million jobs since 2017.
“In total, since we came into office, 2,204,397 employees have been added in the employment space. Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) accounts for about 1,593,000,” he revealed.
The Deputy Minister was contributing to the debate in parliament on President Akufo–Addo’s state of the nation address delivered to the house on February 20.
He said the majority of jobs created since 2017 have been in the informal space. “85% of the workforce is in the informal sector. Formal space accounts for 611,000,” he noted.
“When you get a president who has been able to reduce unemployment and still promising us of the need to create more jobs, then you must be sure that we are in safe hands,” the member of parliament for Hemang Lower Denkyira in the Central Region added.
Quoting the president’s statement to the house, he said the latest Ghana living standards survey has shown that unemployment in the country has reduced from 11.9% in 2015 to 7.3% in 2019.
He praised the president for the jobs created noting, “he came in 2017 when we had International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities that restricted employment in all sectors.
“But by the dint of hard work by his excellency, we have weaned ourselves of IMF and all our security agencies have beefed up personnel. And we are safe.”
Breaking down the figures, Mr Wireko-Brobby said on the education front, 67,000 teachers have so far been employed. He said more than 65,000 people have gotten jobs in the health sector.
The other sectors that have created jobs include the free SHS programme, creation of new districts, recruitments in the aviation sector, the Planting for Export and Rural Development programme, one village – one dam initiative, the National Builders Corps (NABCO) programme, the Community Mining Initiative, among others.
“Four thousand youth have been trained in collaboration with University of Mines…1,107 have been given start-up kits. All these are employments. 20,000 people are earning a decent living in community mines,” Mr Wireko-Brobby said.
“Several thousands of indirect jobs have come as a result of free SHS. Previously, between May and August, you go to Cape Coast, and people don’t have money. Because it’s an educational hub.
“As we speak, due to double track, the entire year is seen with economic activities. And I believe it is the same in all parts of the country,” he added.
“The employment that we have created is not just a mouth talk. But something that can be buttressed, and is evidence-based. So, everybody who wants documents can come and we will give it to them from the employment ministry,” the minister said to applause from his colleague NPP MPs whilst NDC MPs watched on.
“This is to assure Ghanaians that job search is not just a one-day affair. And those youth who are discouraged in looking for jobs must not be discouraged as per the assurances from the president and the interventions which are here for all of us to see,” the MP noted.
The deputy minister assured more jobs are coming soon citing the launch of the automotive policy which will see Nissan, Toyota and VW building plants in the country. “So everyone should be assured that once you complete school, there is hope for you in the employment space,” he said.
He said with 181 factories under the One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative at various stages of completion whilst 58 are already operational, more jobs will be created soon.
“1D1F will generate 2,228,866 direct and indirect jobs,” he disclosed. He also said the hosting of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat in Ghana will also come with more jobs.
The minister explained people with disabilities have also been catered for by the government.
“¢5 million has been dedicated to women entrepreneurs with disability…850 people have so far been assisted,” he said.
“Four years ago, disability fund at district level was 2% of Common Fund. Now it’s 3% that is going. Then, money was given as a handout. This government is helping them make a living. They are being resourced to get business,” he added.
The Deputy Minister said the NPP government has made the lives of Ghanaian workers better than the previous regime. He said a policy that made government employees forfeit all their salary arrears except for three months prior to their contracts being formalized has been abandoned.
“All problems in the employment front that we are confronted with are problems of inheritance. Something called legacy areas… where people work for so many months and you say I am going to pay for only three months,” he said.
“It has taken a visionary like the president to abandon that policy and as we speak, no one is recruited and not paid. Even before you get recruited, there is clearance for you. And you are hooked immediately onto Controller and Accountant General’s salary system,” the MP said.
Mr Wireko-Brobby said the government has also been introduced a policy where students from private sector health institutions are now being recruited into the public service.
He said the Ghana Education Service’ pension scheme is now functioning due to payment of tier 2 pension which the previous government refused to release and was held up at Bank of Ghana.
“Now workers in teaching space are assured of handsome pension should they retire,” he added.