The Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament Select Committee of Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, Richard Mawuli Quashigah, has downplayed the government talked about of 600,000 jobs created, describing them as cooked figures.
According to him, the data on jobs and unemployment figures are incoherent to reality and could not be ascertained.
A total of 611,397 new jobs have been created in the formal sector, according to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffuor Awuah at a press briefing.
Out of the 611,397 new jobs created, the Minister said 343,458 were employed by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), while the remaining 267,939 were employed in the “formal private sector.”
According to the Minister, the Planting for Food and Jobs project has been the biggest contributor to new jobs over the last two years, as it ensured the creation of 1,539,000 new jobs in Agriculture, which accounts for 38 per cent of all employed persons.
The Minister also said about 800,000 Ghanaians are unemployed, 422,000 are currently searching for jobs, while additional 417,000 people have given up looking for jobs out of frustration and lack of hope.
But the Minority disputed the figures and challenged the Ministry to provide categories as most of the talk about jobs are seasonal jobs.
The Minority said the 600,000 jobs the government provided are figures just been dangled without necessarily giving a very concrete breakdown and challenged the Employment Minister to give the public some form of breakdown.
Mr Quashigah said the planting for foods and jobs has claimed to provide some 745,000 jobs but that figure has even been challenged by experts because that couldn’t be substantiated.
Again, he even when the President appeared before Parliament he shied away from the figure and gave 200,000 jobs underplanting for food and jobs, which in his view exposed that the figures are cooked up.
The Keta Constituency lawmaker also questioned among other things, the specific existence of these jobs government is said to have created, contending that government is on a job replacement spree and not necessarily creating jobs.
Read Full Statement
STATEMENT BY HON RICHARD QUASHIGAH, DEPUTY RANKING MEMBER OF EMPLOYMENT, SOCIAL WELFARE AND STATE ENTERPRISES COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR RELATIONS MINISTER’S EMPLOYMENT DATA PRESENTED TO THE PRESS ON 15TH AUGUST, 2019.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, we thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend this press conference. We wish to make known our position on the issues raised and figures presented at the said presser.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ghanaians will recall that on 24th March, 2015, the then running mate to NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, Dr. Mahammud Bawumia challenged data churned out by the Ghana Statistical Services and questioned the credibility of that institution whilst accusing it of massaging figures because data produced by the Ghana Statistical Services was at variance with what he put before the Ghanaian people at the time as being the actuals.
Today, it is interesting and minds boggling that they will rely on data from the same institution as the gospel. We will not question the credibility of the Ghana Statistical Services and its data but rather the credibility of the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, the government and the figures he has thrown out there in the face of glaring acute joblessness in the country.
GLSS6 Labour Force Report defines the employed as the total number of workers actively employed, or available for work. It consists of all persons aged 15 years and older, who during the reference period, were in the following categories:
(i) At work; that is, persons who during the reference period performed some work for wage or salary either in cash or in-kind or worked without pay. (ii) Had a job to go back to, but did not work during the reference period. By this definition, the employed population includes the hawker on the streets, NSS personnel, and those by reasons of internship who earn allowances within the reference week of the GLSS report are considered as employed. Those who crack stones for a living are also considered as gainfully employed. It is this definition that the Nana Akuffo Addo led government is totally relying on to proudly touts what it calls achievements in job creation. It is therefore not surprising that we are being told that the unemployment rate currently in Ghana is 7.1% of the labour force.
The availability of accurate and credible employment data to any country forms the basis of how serious and sincere they are about tackling the unemployment problems facing the country. Unfortunately, Ladies and gentlemen, this government has proven not to be truthful to Ghanaians and would have them believe that the NPP-led administration has not only created new jobs but has reduced unemployment in our country to 7.1%. The fact that the officials of this government including the president himself keep churning out conflicting employment and labour force figures attest to their level of dishonesty about tackling the unemployment situation. Whiles the President in his 2019 May Day address puts the total labour force at 13 million, the Employment Minister just after 3 months puts the active workforce population at 17.56 million, which according to him is from the GLSS7 report. In his estimation, they have created a total of 611,397 formal sector jobs of which 343,458 falls under the MDAs. He further states, of the 17.56 million active labour force, 839,500 remained unemployed.
What are the facts, Ladies and Gentlemen?
In the first place the GLSS7 deals with the indexes of poverty by employment status of household heads and not the entire individual labour force of the population of the country. The actual employment data is however comprehensively dealt with in GLSS6 Labour Force Report. The GLSS7 was published on August 2018 and not in 2019 as claimed by the Minister. This clearly shows they do not know which report actually contains the labour force statistics.
Again, page 38 of GLSS6 Labour Force Report puts unemployment at 5.2% of the total labour force and not 11.9% as claimed by the Minister. This clearly shows the rate of unemployment actually increased from 5.2% in 2015/2016 to 7.1% in 2017/2018 contrary to the claims of a decrease by the Minister and the NPP led government.
Going by the Minister’s total Labour force of 17.56 million, 7.1% unemployment rate means 1.25 million of the total labour force will be the total figure for the unemployed and not the 839,500 as he claimed. Same applies to his so-called strict definition of the unemployment rate of 3.7% which again will also translate into 649,720 unemployed and not the 422,000 claimed.
These figures alone prove beyond all reasonable doubts how dishonest this government is about the unemployment figures.
When it comes to the claim of creating 611,397 total jobs in the formal sector of the economy of which MDAs contributed a total of 343,458, there is another high level of dishonesty and deceit on the part of the Minister and his government. The facts as contained in the quarterly report of the Controller and Accountant Generals Department, CAGD, puts total active staff strength of the MDAs as at December 2016 at 507,343 and the staff strength as at December 2018 at 542,803, making a difference of 35,460 additional employment created; simply a case of replacement of retirees and another labour movement within the MDAs and not a complete and new jobs created. Again, this clearly shows the level of dishonesty and deceit we have been reiterating all along.
To reemphasise, it is up to the Ghanaian people to judge if indeed this is a true reflection of the employment situations in Ghana per the claim of new jobs been created within the MDAs. The important question is are these new job avenues created or vacancies that were filled? Clearly, from the statistics from CAGD, this can best be described as job replacement and not job creation.
Again, the data on job creation on planting for food and jobs as announced by the Agriculture Minister of 745,000 as at 2018 is dubious and was heavily disputed by experts within the Agriculture sector to the extent that President Akuffo Addo in his state of nation address also shied away from it but rather told legislators that the programme created 200,000 jobs. It is therefore interesting for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to continue to hold onto data from a same dubious source which now puts this year’s figure for planting for food and jobs at more than twice that of last year’s (1.5 million). He simply doubled the figure to create an impression of increasing employment within the agriculture sector. We are calling on him to tell Ghanaians if he really meant an additional 1.5 million people have moved into the agriculture sector within the period.
Ladies and Gentlemen, indeed, more jobs have been lost than have been created under the Nana Addo administration since they took over. The upheavals in the banking and financial sector led to thousands of job losses, the textile sector also saw thousands of job losses, the breweries sector about 1,500, food and beverages about 1,200, whiles the media landscape also saw hundreds of job losses.
It is therefore not surprising that the Centre for Socioeconomic Studies, CSS after its work concluded that over a million jobs have been lost since Nana Addo led NPP government came into force. If that is anything to go by, then the doubtful jobs of 611,397 created in the MDAs and the private formal sector as posited by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations in his meet the press encounter is still in arrears of well over 400,000 job losses.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are cautioning the government to desist from churning out dubious and fabricated employment figures and rather seek the right figures from the GSS they previously rubbished and holistically tackle the worsening unemployment situation in this country. Ghanaians are already suffering enough to be ridiculed with dubious and fabricated employment figures.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba