Politics of Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Source: GNA

Parliament vets more ministers

Five more personalities nominated by President John Dramani Mahama for ministerial positions were on Monday vetted by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

They included Nii Armah Ashietey, Minister-designate for the Employment and Labour Relations; Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare, Minister-designate for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts; and Mr Nyon Bilijo, Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.

The rest are Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister designate and Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister designate.

Nii Armah Ashitey told the committee that it was time that government tied remuneration to productivity to get value for the considerable resources spent on the public sector wage bill.

He said the Single Spine Salary Structure was implemented without due consideration for productivity and that the current low level of efficiency in the public sector was as a result of low institutional evaluation of labour performance.

“You can’t determine salaries and wages without talking about productivity, we should start tying remuneration to workers productivity…So much money spent by government on public sector wages and nothing said about productivity”.

The Minister designate said he would engage experts to evaluate public employees’ productivity in order that government makes maximum returns on its investment in the public sector.

Nii Ashietey said he would focus attention on the country’s maritime domain because it had the potential to generate substantial employment opportunities for the teeming youth of the country.

He said Ghana needed to take advantage of the fledgling oil industry, train many youth to take up jobs in both the upstream and downstream chains of the sector.

Nii Ashietey said some reforms were also needed to enable the unemployed youth have access to further training programmes and capital to start or expand existing businesses.

He said de-politicization of issues was equally important to ensure the National Youth Employment Programme created equal opportunities for all.

On work place safety, the Minister-designate said he would ensure that the inspectorate department of the Ministry was resourced adequately to carry out its mandate effectively to ensure that all work environments met the required safety standards.

He said he would establish a labour market information system that would build a database that would inform government on happenings in the labour arena to enable it align or re-align its policy on labour and employment.

Nii Armah Ashietey said he would bring his rich experience as a unionist to bear on the workings of the ministry to build a peaceful and harmonious industrial environment in the country.

Mrs Agyare also told the Committee that she would pay attention to promoting domestic tourism to make the sector viable and would encourage corporate entities and all stakeholders to support the ministry build the industry to create the needed employment for Ghanaians and for the substantial benefit the sector would bring to bear on the country’s economy.

She said she would focus on advocacy and training to enhance the potential of the industry and called for more budgetary support to build the necessary structures for the enhancement of the sector.

The Minister-designate said also that she would collaborate with the law enforcement authorities to ensure that the anti-social practices associated with industry would be limited and that her outfit would embark on a rigorous campaign to educate foreign tourist on the consequences of flouting Ghana’s statutes.

Mr Nyon Bilijo, Minister designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, said he would pursue a review of the legislation on the Fisheries Commission to strengthen the outfit and give it the capacity to perform its mandate effectively.

He said what Ghana needed to improve the fisheries sector was good management systems of the marine resources and that he would apply himself to helping fisher folks develop alternative livelihood so that the sector can be better managed to ensure sustainability.

Mr Bilijo said government would put in place the necessary infrastructure to encourage people to go into aquaculture, as this sector would bridge the gap created by dwindling fish stocks, and would in the long term augment what is being imported into the country to meet the high levels of fish consumption.

He said that aquaculture would be the backbone of the ministry, given the fact that Ghanaians consumed 12 kilos more than the average global level of 13 kilos per annum for an individual, and that the outfit would facilitate the acquisition of capital for those interested in farming fish because of the huge economic potential of that sector.

Nii Afotey Agbo when he took his turn promised to minimize the incidence of land guards, chieftaincy disputes, land litigation and garbage disposal in the region.

He said he will collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that people adhered strictly to the law and that those whose lands government had acquired but had no need for them would be returned to them expediently.

Mr Aidoo also promised to increase the local content in the emerging oil and gas sector in the region by pursing skills training to position the youth of the region to take advantage of the oil industry.