A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Economics Department has warned that the rate of unemployment in the country represents a national security threat.

Speaking on Newsfile on Saturday, Dr. Priscilla Twumasi Baffuor said the recent report on the labour market by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) underscores the need for the government to critically re-assess its employment generation strategies.

“Among the population, 13-35 years is 19.7%. Even worse is the rate of unemployment among young adults, 15-24 years is 33%. So when you take three young adults in Ghana, one is definitely not employed. This is quite alarming and a matter of national security threat, particularly with examples we have seen in other African countries like in the Arab spring.

“Just before Christmas, we saw that the Ghana Statistical Service released one of its reports and the section on the labour market is quite telling of the need for us to take a critical look at employment generation challenges we have faced as a country.  And when you look critically at the report, you see that the unemployment rate among the population 15 years and over, is 13.4%,” she said.

Dr. Twumasi Baffuor further highlighted the unemployment challenges indicated in the report by the GSS.

“What is equally worrying in the report is the fact that more than 46% of unemployed persons have given up hope. They are no longer looking for jobs although they are available to work. So indeed, this is something that should tell us that as a country, we need to take a very critical look at our strategies towards employment generation,” she emphasised on Newsfile.

She said the report also indicated that 77% of persons employed are in the informal sector. This, she said is a staggering departure from the previous report of the GSS on unemployment.

She added that the dominance of the informal sector in the labour market has its repercussions.

“When you take a critical look at the jobs in the report, you see that the public sector, which is government, employs 10% of the people that are employed. 13% of the people employed in the formal sector are in the private sector. In the rest of the labour market, the employed persons are in the informal sector which is 77%.”

“Informal sector continues to dominate employment in the country and it comes with its repercussions. The private sector, which is the engine of growth is clearly not expanding because it employs only 13% of the employed population,” she said.

Dr. Twumasi Baffuor added that considering the unemployment rate in the country, the government must assess the industrialisation strategy since it has not provided much employment in the country over time.

“As a country, we need to take a serious look at the structure of the economy. For example, why does the economy perform well in terms of growth on average but struggles to create jobs?

“Perhaps, it is time for us to pause and assess our industrialisation strategy over time. Why does it appear to be having a meaningful impact on unemployment in the country?” she said.

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