High Unemployment A ‘National Security’ Issue – Bawumia
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that the high levels of youth unemployment in the country are a reflection of the state of the economy they inherited from the previous administration.
He admits it is a national security issue, but assured that his government is working towards creating an enabling environment that will allow the private sector to thrive in order to drive the job creation agenda.
Speaking at the 69th Annual New Year School and Conference at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Dr. Bawumia admitted the current unemployment levels were a “national security issue”, but insisted that the government was committed to ensuring that the problem is addressed.
“High unemployment is the key and most pressing issue of our time. It is a national security issue because the devil finds work for idle hands. Ultimately the high level of unemployment is a reflection of the underlined weaknesses in our economy. This is why the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has placed job creation as the number one priority of government,” he said.
The event was under the theme “Job creation for Accelerated National Development: The role of the private sector,” which was a major point for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) well before they assumed office.
The Vice President emphasized that it is important for the private sector to play a leading role in the creation of jobs with government only serving as a facilitator,
“It goes without saying that government’s role is to put in place an enabling environment for the private sector to drive job creation. Fundamentally, however, you have to build an engine, and an engine has many parts but you have to build an engine that is going to drive job creation,” he said.
‘100, 000 jobs in 2018’
Dr. Bawumia reiterated government’s plans to create jobs for 100, 000 unemployed graduates in 2018 through the Nation Builders Corps initiative.
The programme was announced as a government initiative in the 2018 budget to provide the jobs at a cost of GHc 600 million.
The focus of the initiative is to improve public service delivery in health, education, agriculture, sanitation and also drive revenue mobilization and collection.
The programme has been scrutinized by the Minority in Parliament, and Policy think tank, Imani Africa, who have cited a duplication of roles with the already existing Youth Employment Programme.
However, the Vice President believes that the initiative is needed to create jobs for graduates in various sectors of the economy.
“Employment is a major problem. There are a lot of vacancies [for unemployed graduates] that we have whether it’s teaching or nursing,” he said.
‘Foundation laid for jobs’
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said in December that the government has put structures in place to ensure that the country’s unemployment challenges are addressed.
According to Nana Addo, despite inheriting an economy in dire straits, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has worked assiduously towards ensuring that job opportunities are created for Ghanaians.
“We’ve had important challenges; Invincible and Delta Forces and the tensions at the grassroots of the party over jobs. I appreciate very much the anxiety over jobs. What I’m saying is that, the foundation has been laid for jobs. It has not been easy because we inherited a bankrupt economy, but because of the ingenuity of the people I’m working with, we’ve been able to lay a good foundation,” the President said.
“Let us remain united and confident, we are on the right path and soon it will be obvious to everybody. Our race is not a sprint, it is a cross-country, it is a marathon race and we are going to win at the end, not just at the beginning.”