Members of the Unemployed Graduate Association of Ghana (UGAG) have indicated they cannot afford to wait until election year for government to fulfil its promises on job creation through short-term interventions, which are often limited to party foot soldiers.
According to the unemployed graduates, although President John Dramani Mahama has given a litany of promises to find solutions to the unemployment canker in the country, those promises have not been fulfilled.
A statement signed by Desmond Bress-Biney, President of UGAG, said: “The first term of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama as president of the Republic of Ghana has seen more promises to finding solution to unemployment than any other government in the fourth republic. Yet, the government's approach to solving unemployment has utterly failed. The system is ineffective and it needs to change through a revolution by supporting the growth or small businesses, huge investment in agriculture, among others.
“The government must be proactive, and the youth ought to stand up and fight for a better future like our political leaders of today fought during their youthful days. We cannot afford to fail in this struggle, which will bring economic transformation.”
Read the full statement below
The Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana (UGAG) has accessed the performance of the president and his commitment and interventions to unemployment within the last years and we can confidently say that the president has no clue or is simply not concerned about the challenges the youth face.
Ghana lacks development although it has a total land size of 238,535 km² measuring approximately 25.9 million hectares. A total of 135,965 km2 (representing 57%) is suitable for agricultural purposes. But this government has failed to invest hugely in agriculture which has the potential of changing the destiny of this country and putting it back on the right track. Since independence, agriculture has been a major contributor to our GDP. It is widely viewed as a powerful tool for reducing global poverty and can raise more income among poor people than any other sector. The sector can create over 300,000 direct and indirect jobs annually. The government has however failed to continue the industrialisation drive started by our forefathers in the direction they started it.
UGAG is not affiliated to any political party; however, we are committed to support initiatives that will benefit the youth of this nation. As such, we have come to a perfect realisation that ‘one district one factory’ is feasible and would benefit our nation greatly. The amount we lose to corruption annually and payment of unnecessary judgement debt is enough to make one factory one district feasible. Blessed with natural resources across all ten regions and fairly distributed district by district should be enough conviction and motivation. Research has also proven that with a minimum of between $1 million - $2.5 million we can set up a district base factory. If we can loan millions of dollars to construct roads which is a good project but will not yield much direct returns like a business will do, why can’t we loan to create businesses that will yield much returns to pay debt?
It may not take a year, neither will it take the first term of any government but it is possible within the next decade. This approach is simple and needs dedication and competent management. Simply put, a cow rearing community will simply need a meat factory or a milk factory, a cassava cultivating community will need a starch factory or gari factory. A sugar cane growing community will need a sugar factory. A pig rearing community will need a pig meat factory. A maize growing community will need a kenkey factory with the modern approach to distribute food to companies or maize bear factory. A forest community will obviously need a wood factory and a bamboo community will need a toothpick factory and so on and on. With this idea in mind and availability of raw materials and dedication to making it a reality, and support from GRATIS and other local manufacturing companies, we can create millions of jobs within the next decade at the same time showing commitment to other sectors of the economy which has the potential of creating jobs and abiding by good principles.
During the last elections, the president claimed his government had created thousands of jobs through LESDEP, GYEEDA, Youth in Agriculture, MASLOC, the creation of new district assemblies, etc. The Ministry of Communication earlier this year issued a statement that government has created over 400,000 jobs. In the midst of all this self-glorification, the World Bank reported that over 48% of the youth between the ages of 15-24 are unemployed, not to mention those within the age bracket of 25-60.
We however question if those interventions were the right and appropriate ones, and whether they were carried out correctly. Where are the jobs government created through development projects when the projects have long been completed? Where are the jobs created through LESDEP and Better Ghana Health Management all subsidiaries of the Jospong Group of Companies and the jobs created through RLG, a subsidiary of the AGAMS Group which the government proudly boasted of and associated itself with during the last election? Today, these companies owe us more than we benefitted from them. Where are the jobs created through Youth in Road Maintenance? How many people has YES assisted through the GH¢10 Million Fund? Until recently where are the first beneficiaries of Youth in Community Policing? The beneficiaries of Youth in Fire Maintenance?
Ghana turns 60 next year and blessed with many natural resources yet we continue to struggle and have failed to take up bold initiatives. We have suffered for long. A country blessed with so much but that does little with its resources. We continue to borrow and swim in a pool of debts. The current leadership is comfortable with what they have done while the masses continue to cry for help. We rely on loans and donor support with tight conditions to survive. But in the midst of all these challenges, party foot soldiers are resourced to defend the government at all levels. The future of our dear country does not seem bright.
The first term of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama as president of the Republic of Ghana has seen more promises to finding solution to unemployment than any other government in the fourth republic. Yet the government's approach to solving unemployment has utterly failed. The system is ineffective and it needs to change through a revolution by supporting the growth or small businesses, huge investment in agriculture among others.
The government must be proactive, and the youth ought to stand up and fight for a better future like our political leaders of today fought during their youthful days. We cannot afford to fail in this struggle which will bring economic transformation.
From where we stand, the Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana is ready to take up initiatives that will put government on its toes. We cannot afford to wait till an election year for government to fulfil its promises on job creation through some interventions which may not last but at the same time largely limited to party footsoldiers. We will arise and demand for what rightfully belong to us.
President, Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana (UGAG)
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