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Minister Reactivates Employment Sector Working Group   
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The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations with its development partners and stakeholders has reactivated the Employment Sector Working Group (ESWG) to discuss issues confronting it.

The ESWG, which would be meeting on quarterly basis, was reactivated on the theme: “Creating Synergies for Decent Job Opportunities through Effective Coordination and Inter-Sectoral Linkages”.

The terms of reference for the ESWG include supporting the Ministry to address the existing labour and employment issues in line with global trends.

It is also to support in sector design and implementation of programmes and projects and the coordination of decent job creation.

Mr Ignatius Bafuor Awuah, the Sector Minister, said the move was key to facilitate discussions of issues affecting the employment sector and collectively formulate common but workable plans.

He said the ESWG was critical to the Ministry and the employment sector because of its multi-sectoral nature, adding that the creation of decent jobs and employment opportunities in the required quantities relied largely on the productive sectors and not the Ministry.

Mr Awuah said job creation or employment was the leading theme of the national development agenda as shown in the Coordinated Social and Economic Development Programmes and the National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework (2018-2021).

These national development policy frameworks, he said, were premised on the fact that the issue of unemployment and joblessness would be addressed by a multi-sectoral approach and as the productive sectors received investments; the economy would expand to generate the desired decent jobs.

The Sector Minister said the Government and stakeholders were in a better position of achieving the job creation agenda, when they coordinate efforts effectively and create the necessary synergies.

He touched on some milestones the sector had achieved, which include the National Employment Policy, Youth Employment Agency Act, National Pensions Act, Draft National Occupational Health and Safety, Draft Domestic Workers’ Regulations, National Employment Policy, National Labour-intensive Public Works Policy, and Ghana Labour Market Information System.

Mr Awuah disclosed that the unemployment rate had increased from 5.8 per cent in 2012 to 11.9 per cent in 2015, which called for efforts towards addressing this challenge.

In 2015 alone, 100,043 workplace accidents were recorded but only 16.7 per cent of them received compensation, which did not include persons working in the informal economy who were not covered by the national occupational safety and health systems, he added.

The principal responsibility of the Ministry, Mr Awuah said, was to coordinate the productive sectors towards the common goal of creating decent jobs; and evaluate and report on the employment impact of macro-economic policies and programmes.

The rest were to enforce decent work standards to maintain minimum quality standard of existing jobs for workers in the formal and informal sectors; and to recommend active and passive labour market policies that would provide better employment opportunities to all jobseekers.

Ms Emma Ofori Agyemang, the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry, said the initial Employment Sector Working Group did not have many projects to thrive on its formative stages and also faced technical challenges, which prevented it from becoming relevant to solving issues, hence
the need for a new one.

The new ESWG, she said, would discuss issues on improving the national occupational safety and health management systems for all workers in Ghana.

The Group will link workers in the informal sectors to social security and insurance schemes to ensure income during retirement.

It would also discuss how to revamp cooperative systems to make it more relevant to support growth of businesses and consider the re-examination of Technical, Vocational Education and Training institutions and the general school system to address the issues of skills mismatch with the labour market.

Present at the meeting were the World Bank, the International Labour Organisation, the German Development Agency, Japanese International Cooperation Agency, United States Agency for International Development, Korea International Cooperation Agency and other stakeholders.
Source: GNA

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