Free SHS has helped in reducing unemployment-Minister

The Minister in charge of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffuor Awuah has disclosed at a press bringing that some 422,000 Ghanaians are currently hunting for jobs.

The Minister says an additional 417,000 people have given up looking for jobs out of frustration and lack of hope.

He was addressing the press at the Meet the Press series in Accra on Thursday.

The country’s unemployment rate he said stands at 3.7 per cent.

“People who are actually not working and made efforts to look for work and did not obtain work summed up to 422,000. So strictly speaking these are the unemployed persons that we have on our hand.”

“I will also agree that, somebody will decide that I will not go and look for jobs at all because even if I go I will not get. So I will make no effort…Their number is 417,500. So if you add that to those who are looking for work but are not getting it, the percentage then moves [from 3.7%] to 7.1%,” he said.

“So strictly speaking, we have two definitions of unemployment. We have the strict definition and we have the relaxed definition. If we apply the strict definition, the figure now then is 3.7 but then if we use the relax method which includes all other persons that have given up and are actually though not working but are not looking for work, the figure then comes up to 7.1 per cent,” he added.

He continued: “As far as the workforce is concerned, 11,058,357 people are noted as being employed currently and 1,143,275 persons are noted as “working for all use” or being volunteers and were therefore not considered to be in employment as per ILO definitions of employment.”

He said one if the major factors that helped in reducing the unemployment rate was the free senior high school policy.

“It may interest you, when we studied the data and analysed it, we realised that one of the major contributors to the decline in unemployment has been the introduction of the free senior high school (SHS) policy,” he said.

According to him, a total of 611,397 new jobs have been created in the formal sector.

Out of the number, he said 343,458 were employed by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

He further explained that programmes such as the Planting for Food and Jobs policy, Rearing for Food and Jobs, Modules under the Youth Employment Agencies, National Builders Corps among others also contributed to the reduction in the rate of unemployment.

By: Rashid Obodai Provencal

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