The recent statement by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta which was reported on some media platforms on Government’s payroll being full and the need for the youth to venture into entrepreneurship is ample evidence of failure of government policy to create jobs for our teeming youth. 

In spite of the numerous promises by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to create jobs for the youth for the past 5 years, government has failed the youth woefully. At present, the unemployment rate among the youth keeps increasing. The recent Job Fair organized by the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) where videos that went viral showed a near stampede and disregard for Covid-19 protocols is a reality check on government.

Contrary to the contradictory figures government officials including the Vice President keep churning out on the number of jobs created, the reality is that our youth are without jobs. They complete school and remain home for several years without jobs. 

Day in and day out they are frustrated and are becoming disillusioned.

What is even more worrying is the fact that recruitment into the public sector is no longer based on merit. The few opportunities in the public sector are given to NPP members and foot soldiers only. In recent times recruitment into the public there are reports of unemployed youth paying huge sums of money to secure jobs.

Lessons from the Arab Spring show that these developments are potential triggers of a youth uprising. When the youth realize that irrespective of their qualification and experience, institutions are unfair in providing equal opportunities them, they revolt against such systems and institutions.

There is no doubt that youth enterprise development is a strategy for job creation. For that to happen, government has to create the right eco system for start-ups. 

However, the Finance Minister’s suggestion 
begs for answers as to what extent has the private sector been expanded to accommodate and assist young graduates ? 

What has been put in place to facilitate and motivate young graduates to go into their own businesses? How favourable are the processes and fees charged at various public institutions including the Registrar General for instance for young graduates who want to start up a business being helpful, considering the exorbitant fees charged for business and patent registration,sometimes in dollars?

Obviously, the Finance Minister’s statement reveals that the Nana Akufo Addo led government has failed in finding a lasting solution for the unemployment situation in the country. And one will say that indeed nemesis is catching up on the current government who accused former President Mahama’s government as being incompetent, myopic and unable to deliver the wishes and aspirations of the youth when they were in opposition. They failed to recognize job creation efforts of the previous Government through effective economic structural changes through infrastructural expansion, human capital development through skills and vocational training for the ever increasing private sector, to complement government’s efforts at addressing the unemployment situation in the country. And obviously, the gestation period for such pragmatic decisions taken by late president Mills and former President Mahama’s administration , sometimes painful, but necessary for a positive short to long term effect.
Normally, one would have expected the current government to take the opportunity to critically study and continue the policies of the previous government to meet the needs of the people, particularly the youth . 

What has happened to the 40-year development agenda of the country that had a broad consultative process; but rather decided to play cheap politics with what was of utmost importance to Ghanaians especially the youth, probably it was championed in the time of President Mills and President Mahama without remembering all segments of our society including political parties made inputs or fully consulted on it.
It is sad to say, the youth will now have to suffer the most from unemployment due to the failure of the current government to employ graduates and to continue with solid development policies that would have brought light at the end of the tunnel.
It must be stated emphatically that the lives and future of our young ones would be in total jeopardy if pragmatic measures are not taken to tackle this situation once and for all.

Again, such unfortunate statement by the Finance Minister would have carried a different weight and would have brought some relief to the youth if it was followed by some measures put in place if any by the government to enable the youth easily access credit for start ups despite one’s political affiliation, with clearly laid down procedures to enable the youth have a dignified and fulfilling work, contribute financially to their households as well as save them from political violence which emanates from joblessness.

I call on the government to break the pride by taking a relook at all available policies particularly the 40-year development agenda started by the late president Mills and former president Mahama which has a broader perspective in addressing unemployment for the survival and dignity of the future generation of our dear nation.

Hon. Kobby Woyome 
Member of Parliament, South Tongu Constituency.
Ranking Member, Committee on Youth Sports and Culture.
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