The rising youth unemployment situation and the scramble for jobs in Ghana keep generating conversations, with some people worried about the potential threat to national security if not attended to immediately. Amid issues of National Service Personnel (NSP) looking for jobs and university graduates awaiting National Service postings, the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) is entreating the government to urgently free up the public sector to reduce youth unemployment to the minimum. “Events at the YEA job fair last week, where thousands of graduates desperately thronged the International Conference Center stampeding on one another looking for jobs cannot, and must not be taken lightly by government,” part of a six-paged mini-report on Ghana’s current unemployment situation read. According to the Alliance, “government must free up the public sector by forcing all personnel in the civil service above the retirement age to proceed on compulsory retirement immediately [and] those who have been given one year or two years contracts must be terminated immediately.”
“It is estimated that close to 40% of persons in the Civil Service now are close to or above the retirement age. This compulsory retirement, we believe, can free up the entire Public Service by about 25-30%, giving way to employ a significant number of unemployed graduates. “Mind you, the salaries of senior civil servants can employ up to four fresh graduates depending on the grade and position of the senior servant,” the report claimed. While asking the government to engage business owners in the private sector to employ at least 25% of unemployed youth, ASEPA is also calling for a total reduction of the lending rate in the country. “Government needs to implement urgent fiscal reforms that stimulate growth instead of the current one that is stifling growth in the economy [and] link its fiscal policies to the growth rates.” “There must be a deliberate effort by the government to get at least 40% of its university graduates every year into Agriculture,” it added. The Youth Employment Agency’s (YEA) maiden job fair saw scores of Ghanaians joining long queues on Thursday, hoping to secure a job.
The event, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, aimed to link job seekers to opportunities and assist employers in finding the right people for their companies. Meanwhile, a Research Officer with the Ghana Employers’ Association, Kingsley Laar, says the job fair is not sustainable for employers to find the right people for their companies. According to him, the one-off interviews organised at the event held at the Accra International Conference Center may not give employers the needed details to employ a job seeker. “I honestly think it is not an efficient approach to get the right skills to fill jobs. I think that it is an ad hoc way of looking at the situation altogether,” Mr Laar said on JoyNews’ Top Story last week.
Director of Business Support and Policy at the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (NEIP) said the job fair is only to help provide the environment for job seekers and employers to interact. “Obviously you can’t undertake all the interviews today, [Thursday]. So this was to create an avenue for people who can drop their CVs. “Now, they know directly where the vacancies are, and the organisations will call them once the program is over. So this is a good platform for us to begin the conversation from there,” Franklin Owusu Karikari said.