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Politics of Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Source: GNA

Gov’t is building strong economy for more jobs - Omane Boamah

Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah

The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, said a total of 78,000 teachers were engaged between 2009 and 2016 while 23,411 nurses had been employed since 2013.

Dr Boamah, speaking at the meet-the-press series in Accra, said financial clearance had been obtained and recruitment processes had begun for another 8,000 nurses.

He said perhaps the Ghana Statistical Service’s September 2015 “Integrated Business Establishment Survey” which showed that in 2014 alone a total of 207,492 jobs were created in three sectors; Agriculture, Industry and Services, would convince “doubting Thomases” if any still existed.

“Also available data at SSNIT shows that over 400,000 new workers employed by about 20,000 new businesses have been registered. This figure is not complete as there are many more in both the formal and informal sectors who are yet to be captured,” he said.

Dr Boamah said: “These collective achievements notwithstanding, President Mahama is aware and appreciates the fact that we still have highly qualified, qualified and unskilled people in search of jobs.

“He associates with their plight and is working to resolve the challenge devoid of partisanship and unnecessary politicisation.

“When you hear some respected people in the main opposition party and people who have been in Government in the past attempt to exploit the genuine concerns of young people about jobs for the sake of political expediency, then you realise they have missed the point and they are not ready to govern.

“They are out of touch with reality. Is it not a matter of record that these politicians utilised the mandate given them between 2001 and 2008 to do a fraction of what we have done? Many of the young they are courting would have found employment long before the NDC came into office, particularly as they promised to provide jobs for all of them in the year 2000 and went ahead to register over one million, but failed woefully to give them jobs as they had promised.

“What makes their ranting more pathetic is that they do not offer credible alternatives,” he said, adding, President Mahama would not sacrifice the long term interest of the nation for short term partisan political gains.”

Dr Boamah noted that Ghana’s economy is projected to grow above eight per cent next year and it is expected to leverage this to create more jobs for the youth adding that the budget deficit is currently five per cent from a high of 12 per cent in 2012.

“Inflation is trending downwards and our currency has performed creditably this year. It is in fact the best-performing currency in West Africa outside of the CFA Zone..... We are ensuring both debt sustainability and pursuing massive infrastructural development concurrently.”

Dr Boamah said available data indicated that stability had been restored and the prospects for growth were brighter than before.

“Let’s face it, for the first time in decades, Government is implementing its budget with zero per cent financing from the Central Bank. As you may already be aware, social interventions which hitherto were funded by donors in the NPP era such as the School Feeding Programme (for less than 500,000 pupils) and other social protection interventions, are now fully funded by our Government,” he said.

He said the numbers of children benefitting under the School Feeding Programme had risen to about 1.7 million.

In the cocoa sector, the Minister said the total amount of metric tonnes produced every year, both under President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills and under President Mahama, had always been higher and above what was experienced under the NPP.

“One only needs to talk to cocoa farmers to appreciate the satisfaction that greeted the recent unprecedented increment in the producer price of cocoa, “he said, adding that the lot of the cocoa farmer is much better today than eight years ago. “In 2008 the producer price of a bag of cocoa could buy only 10 bags of cement. Today it can buy about 15 bags of cement”.

On investment, Dr Boamah said Ghana’s investment climate continued to improve and only a few weeks ago, Ghana was adjudged the best place to do business in West Africa ahead of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.

“We have also moved up 13 places on the global ease-of-doing business index in the latest rankings. This impressive performance is buttressed by the undeniable fact that the biggest single investment in our country’s history has occurred under the leadership of President John Dramani Mahama. I am referring to the seven billion dollars ENI deal for the Sankofa Fields,” he said.

That, he said, would further open up the oil and gas sector and create more jobs in addition to the 5,000 Ghanaians already employed in the oil and gas value chain.

He said due to the enabling environment created, more investments kept pouring into Ghana. Over sixty-nine companies have registered and set up under the Free Zones since 2013 with a total investment of over one billion dollars (US$ 1, 080,771,488) and these companies have employed 21,354 Ghanaians.

“So clearly whiles Government continues to employ directly and indirectly, the private sector is also expanding and employing more Ghanaians as well. Ghana is rising under President Mahama,” Dr Boamah said.

He said the Government had intervened directly in the area of manufacturing and industry through the establishment and revamping of factories which had created job opportunities for thousands of the youth.

Dr Boamah mentioned the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant; Kumasi Shoe Factory; Komenda Sugar Factory, Elmina Fish Processing Factory; Buipe Shea Factory; Bolgatanga Meat Processing Factory and the Tamne Irrigation Project and its associated agricultural prospects as some of the interventions that would create jobs for the citizenry.

“As a government founded on Social Democratic principles we believe that government has business doing business and, therefore, has a major role to play in job creation.

“Accordingly we have in the last few years extended significant support to the private sector to facilitate the creation of more jobs. Between 2013 and 2015 GHC400 million was given directly to private companies and organisations under the EDAIF and the Skills Development Fund (SDF).

“Companies in the agricultural, textile and Pharmaceutical sectors have benefitted from this support which has led to the creation of thousands of jobs,” he said.

Dr Boamah said through a policy of awarding textbook printing contracts exclusively to Ghanaian printers, four thousand jobs are being created. Many other additional interventions such as Rural Enterprise Programme; Youth in Agriculture Programme; MASLOC; Youth Employment Programme, and Youth Enterprise Support had led to massive job creation.