Ghana needs industrial plan – Aryeetey

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There is the need for an industrial plan with a focus on job creation in each district of the country, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, has recommended.

This, he believed, would address the incidence of lack of skilled manpower for entrepreneurs who ventured into the manufacturing sector.

He said such a plan must pay attention to the capability and resources in each district to create employment for the teeming youth and also give them the required skills for industry.

Prof. Aryeetey made the suggestion at this year’s first edition of the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Business Breakfast Meeting Series held yesterday at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra on the theme: “A Public-Private Dialogue on Stability, Growth and Jobs”.

Joblessness

He made the recommendation as he enumerated the challenges that confronted the country with regard to the lack of a balanced growth between Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and employment rate, as well as sustainable and quality jobs.

“Joblessness and low quality of employment remain a major challenge. It is more of a structure feature of the economy,” he said.

According to Prof. Aryeetey, current figures showed that the country experienced a remarkable growth of 7.2 per cent between 2007 and 2015, “but this has not translated into the generation of sustainable and quality jobs.”

He said although Ghana’s economy had performed better than most sub-Saharan African countries, “percentage GDP growth triggers only 0.5 per cent employment growth and that is what we should be concerned about.”

He stated that while growth was largely experienced in the informal sector, which saw growth from between 84 per cent to 88 per cent from 1984 to 2013, employment growth in the formal sector declined during that same period.

Way forward

To reverse the trend, Prof. Aryeetey said more focus must be placed on rural districts and agriculture modernised to fill the missing middle or small and medium-scale agricultural activities.

He also suggested that modernised agriculture must be linked to agro-industry to create off-farm employment through agribusiness.

The former vice chancellor further asked for a re-look at the system of on-the-job training and the structure of the education curricula, to enable students to receive appropriate skills training to meet the needs of industry.

Other considerations he enumerated were the need for a serious attention to irrigation, as the country could not do without an effective irrigation system, as well as an investment in infrastructure to support manufacturing.

He also called for the creation of industrial parks to absorb agricultural output and create manufacturing jobs such as in packaging and distribution.

Prof. Aryeetey recommended the initiation of programmes to formalise the operation of construction work, particularly in the housing sector, to make construction jobs sustainable and decent and also leverage returns from the extractive industry to build infrastructure.

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