Govt prioritises job creation to address growing unemployment

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, says the focus of the government in 2022 is to build a sustainable entrepreneurial nation to create jobs for the youth to address the growing unemployment.

 “For us as government and the Ministry of Finance, we remain unwavering in our commitment to build a sustainable entrepreneurial nation and growth inclusive strategy of social justice and social mobility; promote investment; manage a sustainable debt programme; build our infrastructure and create jobs,” he said this last Wednesday during a press conference to brief the press about the developments in the economy.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the government and the Ministry of Finance this year as part of the execution of the of the  2022 budget would implement a coherent and comprehensive strategy that delivers extended opportunities for all Ghanaians through four distinct and essential components.

The comprehensive strategy, he said, was focused on increased resource mobilisation, prudent expenditure management, job creation through industrialisation, agriculture, and regional hub strategy on the back of Africa Continental Free Trade Area initiative and skills training.

“These four policy focus areas taken together, go to the heart of accelerating our efforts at fiscal consolidation, promoting growth and strengthening our medium-term prospects and debt sustainability in tackling the behemoth of unemployment, especially among our youth,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

He said the government this year had outlined in the 2022 budget the plan and strategy to deliver opportunities for all Ghanaians in creating an entrepreneurial nation.

“The 2022 Budget enables us to stabilise the economy and address the greatest challenges of our time; that is the triple helix of debt, digital and physical infrastructure deficit (especially roads) and unemployment. Indeed, the indignity of our youth sitting at home unemployed must be eradicated. Youth unemployment is not a statistic; it is real lives of Ghanaians like you and I and no one should hide his and her head in the sand,” Mr Ofori-Atta, stressed.

On the economy, the Finance Minister said contrary to assessments made by Fitch and other organisations the “economy will continue to get stronger.”

“The concerns of our citizens rating agencies are lingered on revenue mobilisation, lack of access to international market and our E-Levy impasse. We shall overcome there. Similar to most economies, we are emerging from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

He said the country did not face any imminent external imbalance, stressing “We have over five months import cover which is well above our internal target of four months and better than the average over the previous two decades.”

Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that although the current debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio as at the end of November 2021 was 78.4 per cent , it revealed  a reduction in the rate of debt accumulation (i.e. declined by  34 per cent  in 2020 to 18 per cent  as of November 2021).

That, he said, was contrary to the 81.5 per cent published by Bloomberg, saying “Suffice to say that Bloomberg updated their publication that wrongly reported Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio 81.5 per cent to reflect the correct figure as above.”


“We project to achieve a positive primary balance target to improve stability and reduction in the debt to GDP ratio in 2022 and through the medium term.  In fact, restoring fiscal discipline and putting the public debt on a sustainable downward trajectory is a priority for government to achieve fiscal consolidation,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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