Access to cheap finance and infrastructure development are critical in addressing the unemployment challenge facing the country, a Development Economist, Nicholas Issaka Gbana, has said.
He argued that with cheap finance the private sector could borrow to expand their businesses and with improved infrastructure more investors would be encouraged to enter into agriculture and set up businesses in the rural areas.
Mr Gbana stated this at Eagles Forum lecture on unemployment in Accra on Tuesday on the theme “The Unemployment Crisis: Dimensions and Solutions.”
Mr Gbana in an interview said with the current interest rate, it would be difficult for the private sector players to borrow to expand their businesses.
He said the unemployment problem could not be addressed without the support of the private sector since the state could only employ a fraction of the employable youth.
Mr Gbana said low and inconsistent growth were accounting for the growing unemployment in the country, stressing the economy needed to grow above 10 per cent for several years.
“Innovation and diversity is crucial to address the low and inconsistent growth,” he said, suggesting that efforts should be made to add value to the country’s natural resources, especially cocoa.
Mr Gbana lauded the government for the establishment of the Ghana Exim Bank which provided loans below 10 per cent and theOut grower Value Chain Fund, which also lends money below at 13 per cent.
“We need more of these schemes in the system because what we have is not enough,” he said.
Mr Gbana stressed that government interventions such as the IDIF should be properly targeted to achieve their intended objective and also called for effective monitoring and evaluation of government initiatives.
The Executive Director of Footprints Bridge International, Baba Adongo, in an interview said the role of the private sector was crucial in addressing the unemployment conundrum facing the country.
“The solution to addressing the unemployment problem is the government policies that support and strengthen the private sector and promote entrepreneurship across the country” he said.
Mr Adongo said focus on Technical Vocation Education Training and competency based training to provide the youth with skills would go a long way to address unemployment challenge facing the country.
The President of Eagles Forum, which is into research and advocacy, are made up of professionals who want to contribute to the development discourse of the country.
“Our priority is to affect government policy. We are no politicians we are professionals and the space of policy and debate should be opened to the public and private individuals,” he said.
Mr Gador said the organisation decided to focus on employment and come out with suggestions to address the growing unemployment in the country.
He said reports by the Ghana Statistical Service and other bodies confirmed growing unemployment in the country.
Mr Gador intimated thatthe growing unemployment remained a security threat to the country and it affects the quality of life of the citizens.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE