Government Has Created Over A Million Jobs - Minister

One million six hundred jobs have so far been created for the youth as a result of investigations pursued in selected sector of the economy under the Mills administration, a Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said. In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, Mr Ablakwa said the government’s agenda to create jobs was on course, as the Youth-in–Agriculture programme (block farming concept) had so far created 47,000 jobs. He explained that in the road sector, capital intensive interventions which included feeder roads, urban roads and highway contracts had so far generated 950 jobs, while the labour-based segment had generated 555,000 jobs. Additionally, the oil and gas sector had so far created 1,000 jobs, ranging from onshore activities, while the Eco Brigade and the Civil Service had engaged 10,000 and 982 people, respectively. Mr Ablakwa said President Mills, conscious of the massive unemployment situation, had adopted pragmatic solutions to solve the problem or reduce it to the barest minimum and stressed the need for the collaboration of all towards the achievement of that goal. In the case of the Civil Service, Mr Ablakwa said 565 people were recruited in the Greater Accra Region, 59 in the Northern Region, 34 in the Upper East Region, 28 in the Upper West Region, 29 in the Volta Region, 24 in the Western Region, 86 in the Ashanti Region, 58 in the Brong Ahafo Region, 34 in the Central Region and 65 in the Eastern region. On the block farming concept, he explained that employment figures in the Youth in Agriculture programme excluded transporters, chemical dealers and storage works, while those in the oil and gas sector included shore-based support workers, rig workers, shippers and cooks. On investments made in the education sector, he mentioned the free school uniforms project initiated by the Mills administration, the free exercise books and the 50 per cent increase in the capitation grant as some of the laudable achievements. He said GH¢4 million had been released as scholarships for science and mathematics students, while scholarship opportunities had been broadened for brilliant, willing Ghanaian youth. He said the government had proposed to establish two new universities in the Volta and Brong Ahafo regions and also broadened the Students Loan Trust to cover all tertiary students, including those in nursing and teacher training institutions. Despite the global economic downturn, Ghana continued to make significant strides in attracting investment, he said. During the third quarter of 2009 alone, the country recorded 81 new investment projects, with China topping the list of countries that increased their investment portfolios in the country. According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, “the total estimated value of the last quarter’s newly registered projects was GH¢374.15 million, a significant increase of 139.32 per cent over the GH¢156.34 million recorded for the second quarter of 2008”. Mr Ablakwa said President Mills’s agenda to inculcate in the youth the spirit of patriotism and discipline, with emphasis on hard work, aagainst employing shortcuts to get rich, would not be compromised. “Time consciousness, belief in the potential and ability in oneself, among other values and virtues, will continue to be emphasized,” he stressed. He said the two-pronged strategy by the President to invest in tangibles and intangibles, all geared towards creating a “better Ghana”, would not be compromised.