The Head of the Economics Department at the University of Ghana, Prof. William Baah-Boateng, has emphasized the need for political parties to pay critical attention to the unemployment rate in the country.
According to him, job creation must be targeted at critical areas of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and tourism which have the tendency to create ripple effects in the economy thereby creating more jobs.
Speaking on the issue of unemployment as a critical sector for economic development at the launch of the Manifesto Project organized by the Center for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD Ghana), Prof. Baah-Boateng expressed concern about the fact that Ghana’s economy is growing; but does not reflect on jobs, a phenomenon he terms as ‘Jobless Growth’.
“The source of growth for every economy is very important and many politicians are quick to say we grew by a certain number. But the source of the growth is not spoken about. So, if you assess Ghana’s growth trajectory, you will realise that the growth is from certain areas. But the sectors that are supposed to generate the jobs are not growing enough. These are agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Rather, those sectors that are not creating the direct employment, that is, oil and gas and mining are growing. So you will grow alright but it will not reflect in employment,” he said.
He also said the unavailability of data on unemployment rate makes it difficult to measure jobs created by government.
“Unemployment data is an issue in Ghana. There is a definition of what is unemployment rate, but in Ghana there is a misconception about unemployment rate,” he said.
Prof. Baah-Boateng explained that there are internationally accepted criterion for measuring employment rate which must meet some basic standards.
He stated for example that workers are required to receive decent remunerations as well as a pension contributions.
Citing the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) as an example, Prof. Baah-Boateng said even though government categorizes the policy under employment rate, workers were not making any form of pension contribution which means it does not meet the full requirement as prescribed by the employment rate.
“If you do an analysis and break NABCO down, it will be difficult to even categorize it. Is it under public sector or what? Is it a decent job? If you talk about a decent job you expect to have social protection as part of it”, he noted.
The Report launched by CDD-Ghana was titled, ‘The Manifesto Project, Promoting responsive and responsible Manifestos for national development, a compilation of issues and Evidence on Key sectors in Ghana’.