General News of Thursday, 25 January 2018
The 745,000 jobs which Minister of Agriculture Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto claims were created last year by courtesy of the Planting for Food & Jobs programme, are “voodoo figures”, Susan Adu-Amankwah of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has said.
Dr Afriyie Akoto told the media in an interview that: “I am glad to say that when we did the calculation, we came close to 745,000 jobs created in the rural areas.”
The figures were announced by the minister just a few days after President Nana Akufo-Addo told journalists at the Flagstaff House during his second media encounter that the number of jobs created in the first year of his administration were now being collated.
Discussing job creation on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show, Mrs Adu-Amankwah told Moro Awudu on Thursday, 25 January that: “I think the president didn’t want to sully himself with these voodoo figures, and, so, he would rather come out and be honest and take the political fallout for being honest and saying: ‘Look, I don’t have the figures now’, because you can’t tell me that these figures [745,000] – within how many days – all of sudden [popped up].
“This is a magician waving his wand and then ‘abracadabra’; voodoo figures [pop up],” the former Vice Chairperson of the CPP said.
She is in good company with co-discussant Joe Jackson who also expressed skepticism about the numbers.
“In my worse state, I think they lied about the statistics, in my best days I say they don’t know the numbers. Let me repeat: when I’m feeling most benevolent, I feel that he doesn’t know the numbers, when I’m feeling angrier, I think he’s plain lying and that’s the truth. That’s how I feel, I may be wrong but that’s how I feel. If you created 745,000 jobs, believe me, this country will change overnight. If 745,000 more people went into agriculture, I will feel it in my pocket, I’ll feel it in market prices, I’ll feel it in the number of people still looking for jobs,” he told show host Moro Awudu.
In his view, government should create the enabling environment for the private sector to create lasting jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the country.
“First of all, I’m not a believer in government creating jobs directly, it just doesn’t work, it’s a waste of our money. Jobs should be created by the private sector. It is the private sector that creates long-lasting jobs. In any case, this is a country where one of our biggest single problems is the public sector wage bill. The last thing we need is to add more people onto that public sector wage bill so, as for the government directly creating jobs forgive me it doesn’t excite me.”