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Business News of Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Source: GNA

Government to formalise informal economy

Group photo of the National Employment Coordination Committee Group photo of the National Employment Coordination Committee

Government on Monday inaugurated a National Employment Coordination Committee to formalise the informal economy.

The Committee will estimate job creation potential of government policies and interventions and support the Employment Ministry to institute an automated Labour Market Information System.

The Committee comprising representatives from 38 Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and chaired by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, is also charged to harmonise the impacts of employment policies, programmes and projects for maximised outcomes and provide policy oversight for the employment sector working group.

In order to manage the employment sector effectively, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, said there was the need for a concerted effort to monitor and coordinate the productive sectors, and generate timely reports to guide decision makers.

He said the Employment Ministry was faced with difficulties in its efforts at harmonising activities of the sectors.

That had, therefore, resulted in difficulties in coming up with credible employment figures or data, establishing forward and backward linkages and consolidating the impacts.

Mr Baffuor-Awuah said the Committee was expected to meet a national job target, sector job target, commission impact assessment of key government policies, establish an Employment Sector Working Group and when the need arose, commission a sub-committee to complete specific tasks for consideration of members.

Often, he said emphasis was placed on the public sector when it came to employment, meanwhile every section within the public space had a linkage with the private sector.

The cost of the Committee is expected to be met from budget allocated to the implementation of Component 3.3 of the World Bank sponsored Ghana Jobs and Skills Project and an annual budget allocation would also be made under the Ministry to support the operations of the Committee.

Mr. Dode Seidu, a Frontier Market Advisor, in an overview of employment interventions and the need for coordination, said according to the World Bank, Ghana’s employment scene was uncoordinated and fragmented, with overlaps in mandates among stakeholder institutions.

A lack of synergy limited the effectiveness, efficiency, and overall impact of programming, he stated.

He explained that employment creation was multi-sectorial as no single institution, agency, or sector could create jobs alone.

Without coordination, Mr seidu said all employment creation efforts might not make meaningful impact, and that it made data easily available to help policy making, education planning, career guidance and enterprise development of strategies.

Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, the Chief Executive of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, who represented the Private Enterprise Federation at the inauguration ceremony, implored the public and private sectors to work in harmony while employing technology as the main tool.

Speaking on the informal sector and how it encountered little or no recognition at the world of work, he said: “We, as a people need to have a policy intervention and paradigm shift towards the sector. We must start thinking about them differently to tackle the inadequacies that exist within the sector because they create the most employment opportunities for our people.”

The coming into being of big data, artificial intelligence and digitilisation, Dr Ashigbey said gave the working group the opportunity to position themselves well where they had been placed by the economy.

“Let’s make the informal sector ‘sexy’ for people to complete school and want to go into those sectors because they know they can create opportunities in there for others to contribute effectively towards economic growth,” he advised.

Dr Ashigbey said some informal sector actors did not contribute to taxation because of how society had perceived them in the past, adding: “We should look at them well and structure the interventions and policy directions in a way to maximise the impact on both the economy and the individual Ghanaian.”