Dr John Kwakye
Economist Dr John Kwakye has called on government to employ strategic policies that will help reduce the acute youth unemployment in the country quickly.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting hosted by Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank yesterday in Accra, Dr Kwakye stated: “We have an acute problem with unemployment, especially the youth. The problem is serious enough to cause a potential time bomb, and capable of triggering some form of social upheaval.”
Attributing the high unemployment numbers to a number of factors, he said economic growth did not match the labour force growth or population growth, adding that the concentration of growth had been in the low job-creating capital intensive extractives and in some automated and service activities.
“Agricultural manufacturing which has a great potential to create jobs has been stagnating. There is also a mismatch between skills of our graduates and the available jobs. And then there are limited opportunities for self employment and entrepreneurship.”
He proposed that government should provide active support to agriculture and manufacturing.
“There is a national strategy and national plan for informal enterprises which has been developed by the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare and I think that should be implemented.
Commenting on the local currency, he said, “You will see that in 2016 the cedi has been more stable compared to 2015. Now if you go back to our history, we started floating the cedi from 1983. And since then I have done the calculation, the cedi has depreciated by about 99.4 percent against the dollar over that period. Mathematically, any quantity that depreciates or devalues by 100 percent falls to zero or vanishes. So if you calculate the cedi depreciation you are never going to get 100 percent, you will get 99.9999 percent but to get to zero, it means that the cedi will vanish.”
“In 1983, the cedi dollar rate it was just 2.75 old cedis to the dollar. Now at a rate of 4.4 cedis to a dollar, that is about 44,000 old cedis. We have moved from 2.75 to 44,000 old cedis. And this incident in cedi depreciation reflects in the present government.”
He revealed that government must promote entrepreneurship by supporting initiation of business ideas, reforming education curricula, with focus attention on technical skills, mathematics and science, or set up business incubators to support growth-oriented entrepreneurs.
He also advised the new administration to forge close relationship between industry and schools to better match the skills and jobs and strengthen labour market information among trade systems to ensure regular flow of information on better opportunities.
By Samuel Boadi