The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged the government to give priority to the six newly created regions in its distribution of the one million jobs it intends to create over the next three years.
It also asked the government to give details of the said one million jobs to enable public scrutiny and verification.
Dr Yaw Baah, TUC’s Secretary-General TUC, made the call when he spoke to the media on the sidelines of a 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review forum organised by the TUC and Friedrich Egbert Stiftung in Accra on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.
The government in its 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review announced plans to create one million jobs across the country within the next three years.
This, it said, would be created under the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) programme.
The GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES “Obaatanpa” Programme is a three-and-a-half-year comprehensive programme to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, return the country to a sustained path of robust growth and to create a stronger, more resilient and transformed economy.
Even though the Government was yet to give details as to the regional distribution of those jobs, Dr Baah said government must pay more attention to the new regions to reduce the high rate of unemployment in those regions, minimise youth migration to the south and accelerate their development.
“We have heard a lot of these numbers being bandied around, so we want the government to give us the distribution of the potential jobs, sector by sector and region by region. And what we have advocated is that we need to even pay more attention to the new regions because they are new and they need that support so young people will have the incentive to stay there and work.”
“We have to take advantage of this one million jobs to keep young people to work for the community… and I am sure if you will give a young person a decent job to stay in the village, I think he or she will stay,” he said.
The forum was to present labour’s perspective on the Mid-Year Budget and proffer recommendations for the government’s consideration.
In 2019, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo created six new regions under the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 113.
These regions are; North East, Savannah, Bono East, Ahafo, Western North and Oti regions.
The TUC Secretary-General also advocated for the expansion of the tax net to rope in more taxpayers to ramp up the government’s revenue, as well as the
reformation of the single spine salary structure to ensure that workers were not short-changed.
He, however, lauded the government for the Mid-Year Budget Review, describing it as “proactive” in terms of jobs creation.
Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, Director, Labour Research and Policy Institute at TUC who presented the Congress’ research on the budget, urged the government to check the constant upward review of fuel prices, including suspending the Automatic Adjustment Formula, as well as eliminate “nuisance” taxes and levies on fuel.
He noted that falling real incomes, job losses, reduced pay and wage awards below inflation had occasioned distress, and called on the government to support citizens to reduce suffering.
Dr Otoo welcomed the progress made by the government towards the establishment of the National Unemployment Insurance Scheme (NUIS) and the rollout of training for workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the training would help preserve and upgrade the skills of affected workers.
“The NUIS will in future provide composite support to workers who become unemployed through no fault of theirs; It will offer opportunities for training and retraining, job search support, apprenticeship and internships to the unemployed,” Dr Otoo added.