Ghana needs new policy on employment creation

Prof. Tsikata

Prof. Tsikata

A Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, has advocated the adoption of a transformative social policy that will effectively tackle the growing menace of youth unemployment in the country.

According to her the reliance on the informal sector as the main employer of the economy is unsustainable and also renders economic growth less efficient.

“The transformative social policy is a collective intervention to directly affect welfare, social inclusion and social relations. It is concerned with the redistributive effect of economic policy, the protection of people from the vagaries of the market, the circumstance of age,  the enhancement of productive potential of members of society and other factors,” she emphasized.

Prof. Tsikata made the assertion at her inaugural lecture delivered at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science in Accra on Thursday.

Speaking on the topic: “Addressing the Crisis of Work in Ghana: What Role for Transformative Policy?” she said there was an ongoing global crisis of work of which Ghana was not exempted.

As a result, there was the need for a collaborative and a coordinated approach involving different sectors to be adopted in dealing with the crisis which had the potential to consume the country.

According to her, though informal work and self-employment were the norm rather than the exception in Ghana, the last four decades had witnessed the informalisation of work in sectors of the economy, which hitherto to had been characterised by formal work relations in the past.

“The crisis of work has ramifications for the economy as a whole. When an economy grows but fails to produce decent work, an increasing number of people live in poverty and therefore do not have the purchase power.

Their lack of purchasing power then has an adverse impact on enterprises that exists,” she said.

Prof. Tsikata who is a development sociologist explained that economic growth in Ghana had become less efficient in addressing poverty because it was driven largely by sectors that do not generate enough jobs.

“The jobs created in the economy over the period have largely been informal, casual and precarious, and are in that segment of the economy that do not create much work either because they are capital intensive or dominated by micro-enterprises without the capacity to employ others meaningfully,” she said.

Dilating further on the issue, she explained that in agriculture which still had the largest share of the employed people, work was characterised by low productivity, indebtedness, poor work conditions and low earnings of self-employed producers in agriculture and poor wages.

She said the state under the transformative social policy had a central role in policy decision making and not the market, stressing that “Market Solution is only allowed in so far as they are subject to regulation and capable of promoting the social development Agenda.”

Prof. Tsikata cautioned that society must not be seen as an adjunct of a self-regulating market, rather the market must be viewed as embedded in the larger economy with the larger economy embedded in society.

 BY CLIFF EKUFUL,

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