I will fast-track implementation of labour market information system

Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah has given assurance that he will fast-track the implementation of Labour Market Information System, initiated by his predecessor to solve the lingering unemployment situation in the country.

He said the system which was meant to capture the data of potential workforce in the country, would ultimately paint the true picture of the unemployment situation in the country.

Mr. Awuah gave the assurance when he appeared before the Appointment Committee of Parliament, yesterday to be vetted for his ministerial position.

He said the determination of the right unemployment situation has been a challenge with a 2014 survey pegging it at 5.8 per cent of the working population.

He said the unemployment situation demanded a multifaceted approach to solving it since most situations either comes under the category of under-employment adding that demographic analysis of the situation could help address the challenge.

Mr. Awuah said since the solution of the unemployment situation in the country was a central part of the New Patriotic Party’s manifesto, the ministry would help coordinate the creation of jobs in the country.

He said to that end, the government has made it a point to ensure that Job Impact Assessment of credit was carried out by every ministry which would be looking for loan outside the shores of Ghana.

Mr. Awuah said already it was envisaged that an occupational health and safety bill which was soon to be introduced in Parliament has the potential of generating 10,000 workforce in the country.

He said it was the target of the ministry to design the bill in such a way that when it was finally passed into law, organisation with a workforce above 25 staff could be compelled to recruit a health and safety personnel to safeguard the safety and interest of the workforce.

He said that though the Ministry of Finance with International Monetary Fund (IMF) directive has given financial clearance to the Ministry of Education and Health to engage 22,000 teachers and 17,000 nurses respectively, the situation needed prudent implementation.

Explaining further, he said most often if the clearance was abused by the various ministries as a result of high demand for such professional workforces the situation gives the government unnecessary financial burden.

He assured the committee, that the recruitment of the personnel would be done within the framework of the quota given while ensuring transparency in the recruitment exercise.

Mr. Awuah promised that his ministry would monitor and deal with unscrupulous people who were engaged in export of Ghanaian professional abroad just for them to undergo various maltreatments.

He said his ministry would not equally countenance the activities of organisations which takes advantage of the Ghanaian Labour Act to abuse workers by under-payment or sustained casual work role.

Mr. Awauh said public office holders who were unusually asked to proceed on leave on assumption of new government have themselves to blame for engaging in partisan politics publicly.

He said though in principle, he was against such directives, many of those affected have themselves to blame to openly supporting a particular party which might make it difficult for another party upon assuming office.

Mr.  Awuah said the ministry would ensure that the Second-Tier Pension Fund lodged at the Bank of Ghana accounts was duly released to fund managers of the 12 public sector workers union.

By Lawrence Markwei

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