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Opinions of Monday, 8 January 2018

Columnist: Alhassan Andani

The job hunters of Immigration Service and matters arising

Unemployment is where people are willing to work but cannot find jobs. In simple terms, the labour is willing to be productive for country and self but there is completely no avenue to be productive. The huge number in the region of 84,000 competing for a limited 500 job vacancies is unbelievable, embarrassing and perturbing. Youth employment is gradually becoming a looming threat to national security of developing nations. It is best a disease whose symptoms are insidious.

The oft-cited threat to national security is well-nigh should policy makers failed to bring out silver-bullet solutions to address the problem. The consequence of youth unemployment might be narrowed down to threat to national security, however, there are multipronged consequences such as slowed economic growth, social vices, economic recession and whatnots.

Clearly, we have to break talking and get real and practical. I’m well informed that in a democratic dispensation like Ghana’s, policies targeted at tackling youth unemployment differ considering the viewpoints of both liberal and conservatives. But this is the time to amalgamate the two viewpoints for the collective benefit of the country.

Many a Ghanaian is always befogged about how governments of Ghana chooses to address the problem of youth unemployment. There has always been policy incoherence, implementation of scams and misallocation of resources. The era of luxurious wastage of time is anachronistic. We are forewarned so we must be forearmed. We need a policy document of doable strategies to address the challenge and not platitudes.

It is undisputable fact that government cannot provide jobs for every jobless soul. Because government has hundred sources of raising revenues and thousands sectors of spending the raised revenue. There is always an array of sectorial problems competing for the attention of limited government revenues. Government must rollout plausible policies to really make the private sector the engine of growth they have always known for in other jurisdictions.

I have never travelled to Mr. Trump’s America but most of the businesses generating myriads of employment annually are held by the private sector. Companies such as York Capita management, amazon, oracle, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken(KFC), apple Incorporated, etcetera are the trailblazers generating employment opportunities. It is unambiguous from the case of USA that Ghana will not enter unknown territory by propelling the private sector to unexampled growth levels. To reduce unemployment levels to the barest minimum, the role of the private sector is sine quo non. But there is a caveat: the business environment must be made very friendly as this is a condition precedent for job creation. Save the fanfare and ecstasy that always greets the achievement of GDP growth rates, downward trending of inflation and policy rates.

The agnostic Ghanaian must begin to feel the positive effects of the successes chalked by these economic terminologies. The government’s flagship program of builders corps aimed at mitigating the plight of the mass unemployed youth is laudable. Half a loaf is better none, nonetheless, without a modicum of equivocation, the private sector is well placed regarding the creation of employment opportunities with attractive and decent salaries.

Quite distinct from this unemployment malaise, is the unacceptable method with which state institutions invariably adopt in the recruitment of job seekers. I cannot the fathom the rationale behind our unbridled appetite for queuing as a nation. Is it because we have been queuing at waakye joints? The national service secretariat was at the receiving end of public opprobrium for making prospective service personnel to queue under the scorching sun for a simple reason of registration which otherwise could have been done under a shade with a click of a button. What’s wrong with us? Are our leaders not techies? We must embrace a paradigm shift. Supplanting manual recruitment and registration will eliminate corrupt acts to appreciable levels.

The immigration service could have demanded payment from a jobless youth after he had landed a job. The payment will then be used for the processing of the application. Why should immigration service be in need of only 500 people unbeknownst to the prospective immigration officer? ‘’Is there no cause to rant’’? You cannot mount a spirited defense for this classic exploitation by using generation of internal generated funds as a line of defense, no way. Not even lawyer Nti of kejetia Vs. Makola series fame will adopt this brittle defense.

We are in digital era. We must start doing things the digital way, catch-as-catch-can. Every state institution must buy into the idea. My view of ICT as a development enabler has not changed, if not further entrenched. The GhanaPost GPS is a boost to a digital era. The transformation of Rwanda cannot be mentioned without stating the immeasurable contribution of information and communication technology. Let’s collectively minimize the use of manual procedures by adopting information systems that are interoperable. Physical exchanging of documents predisposes authority to corruption. I never ever imagined that a state institution would have repeated the mistakes of the national service secretariat until this immigration service became a matter of public concern. State institutions and agencies consistently discount the concerns of well-meaning Ghanaians. If you care to know, the world is moving forward at unimaginable pace. Ghana may choose to lag behind.

The writer is a student studying BSc Computing-with-Accounting at UDS, Navrongo Campus.