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General News of Monday, 20 July 2015

Source: The Finder

Unemployed Graduates Association registers thousands of members

Haruna Iddrissu, Employment and Labour Minister Haruna Iddrissu, Employment and Labour Minister

The membership of the Ghana Unemployed Graduates Association has more than doubled over the last two years, according to figures obtained by the Weekend Finder from the Association.

The current membership of the association stands at 24,647; more than double the number the association registered last year, Desmond Biney, Director of operations of the Ghana Unemployed Graduates Association, said.

According to him, last year, the Association registered about 2000 new members with the 2012 registration of 12,000 plus members being the highest so far.

This number does not include the thousands of others who are not registered members of the Association.

The new figures are indicative of the worsening graduate unemployment problem in the country.

Each year, the various tertiary institutions churn out thousands of graduates into the system, but life after university has always been daunting for many of these graduates who remain jobless years after school.

Between 2011 and 2015 for example, the National Service Secretariat deployed a total of 289,539 graduates for their national service. Out of this number, only 5,000 are absorbed into the formal Sector, according to the National Labour Organisation.

According to Desmond Biney, the situation requires more pragmatic policies from government to end the problem.

He maintained that the problem has lingered over the period because the agriculture and ICT sectors that should have been developed to create more opportunities for the youth have rather seen a massive decline over the period.

He also bemoaned government’s lip service to enhancing entrepreneurship among the youth in the country.

He mentioned for example that business registration in the country is fraught with so many bureaucracies and corruption, which continues to serve as a disincentive to registering businesses in the country.

Additionally, young people willing to start businesses pay equal taxes as businesses that are already established.

He said a regime that would allow tax exemptions for business start-ups would be a great incentive to promote entrepreneurship among the youth.

He, therefore, called for closer collaboration between the government and the private sector to help end graduate unemployment in the country.