The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Employment and Social Welfare Committee, Richard Quashigah and the Deputy Employment Minister, Bright Wireko-Brobbey, yesterday took each other on, as part of the debate sessions ongoing in the House, as to whether or not government had been able to create jobs in its first year as projected in the 2017 budget.
While Mr Quashigah, Keta MP, believed the government could not create the jobs this year, hence its failure to account for same in the 2018 budget, Mr Wireko-Brobbey, MP, Hemang Lower Denkyira, said the government had created the jobs and that the records were there to show.
Their disagreement was on day-six of the 2018 budget statement and fiscal policy debate which focused on job creation.
According to Mr Quashigah, government promised to create 750,000 jobs under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, establish 51 companies under the One District One Factory policy, the government’s flagship programme for job creation, but went silent on how many of those jobs and factories were delivered in the 2018 budget.
The Keta MP noted that jobs promised in the fisheries sector had also not been created in 2017 and cast a slur on the proposed National Builders Corps programme describing it as a Youth Employment Agency reincarnate meant to stock pile NPP foot soldiers.
He said contrary to promises to create jobs for all, it was hounding “legitimate” miners out of job as a result of the fight against illegal mining which “has been done haphazardly” though admitting the campaign was a good one.
“Joblessness has become most chaotic such that the hawkers on our street have outnumbered the number of vehicles on our streets”.
“It is obvious the issue of joblessness has overwhelmed the Nana Akufo-Addo government irrespective of the fact that this government rode on the back of creating jobs for the youth.”
“Mr Speaker, projections when made must bring about results and that is why the government was unable to account for how many people got employed under the job programme in 2017,” he said to loud cheers from his colleagues in the Minority.
But Mr Wireko-Brobbey, expressing his disagreement and said from the first to the last page, the 2018 budget addressed issues of employment and accused the Minority of “painting a picture as if Ghana is falling.”
“A solid foundation has been laid by the 2017 budget and we are seeking to build on that in the 2018 budget”, adding that statistics available to him indicated that unemployment jumped from 5.2 per cent in 2012 to 11.9 per cent in 2016 under the outgone NDC government.
He said the statistic was something President Akufo-Addo was unhappy about and “anytime we meet, he brings it up and urges us to go beyond the normal thinking process and come with solutions for the youth to get jobs.”
To show commitment to creating sustainable jobs, Mr Wireko-Brobbey said the government committed US$10 million through the National Entrepreneurial Innovation Programme which has attracted 5,500 applications out of which 500 have been approved and given the needed funds to start up their ventures.
Responding to claims that the Planting for Food and Jobs has failed to create jobs, the Hemang Lower Denkyira MP said 2160 graduates from the various Colleges of Agriculture had been hired as Extension Officers.
Ten thousand youth, he said, have been engaged in the Artificial Pollination programme in the cocoa sector and additional 10,000 to be created in the environmental protection area of the economy, dispelling the Minority’s claim that the government was failing in creating jobs.
Source: Ghanaian Times
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