President John Mahama has indicated that employment creation has been the focus of his government and the first four years of his government has seen the laying of the foundation to generate more jobs for Ghanaians.
Speaking on GBC/Star Ghana one-one-one presidential encounter, President Mahama, who is standing for election on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), said the decision to transform the polytechnics into universities was to give value to technical education as a source of training the youth to be employed by industry.
In that vein, President Mahama advised the youth to pursue courses that would guarantee them employment after school rather than those that are popular or easier to pursue, regretting the trend where the youth of today are still pursuing courses that the older generations were doing in the past to meet the white collar jobs available in those days.
“The youth are still going for courses that required the speaking of good English as we used to do to get white collar jobs in the past,” he lamented.
He disclosed that the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) is one of the employment-creation agencies training the youth to be self-employed, adding that a module has been designed to train head porters (kayaye) for two years to enable them become hairdressers, seamstresses, among others, to be self-employed. He said, his four years in office have seen massive investment in infrastructure leading to four hundred thousand jobs for artisans, such as masons, carpenters, steel benders and others.
He indicated that the District Assembly Common Fund for Persons with Disability (PWDs) would see some increase but observed that, whereas some PWDs were using the fund for profitable things, others were just taking the money with putting them into good ventures. He, therefore, called for judicious use of the fund to give it more value.
Addressing opportunities for PWDs, President Mahama blasted some chiefs and traditional leaders for using outmoded customs as barriers to them, calling it a bad practice.
“Some of the chiefs do not want to see people with disability,” he observed, recollecting how he told a chief who didn’t want to see Dr. Henry Seidu Danaa, Chieftaincy Minister, that, “that is your minister”.
He expressed the government’s pride in appointing a visually impaired to head that ministry.
President Mahama assured PWDs of accessibility to public places that are now being constructed in line with the laws on disability, adding that those that preceded the law would require a lot of engineering work to adapt. As part of the accessibility moves, “ramps have been fixed on all new buses for easy accessibility for the disabled”.
Answering a question on giving autonomy to public universities, President Mahama stated that the universities were not in a position to adopt that policy since it requires that they generate their own funds to cater for all their needs rather than depending on the state.
He was against the practice where the universities depend on government for all their needs but were reluctant in being transparent with income.
On the current worker- agitation in the national broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the need for his intervention, President Mahama said it wasn’t his responsibility to intervene but he could instruct the National Media Commission (NMC) to conduct an investigation into the issue for redress.
Mrs. Selikem Acolatse Akpaloo and Abdul Hayi-Moomen of GBC were the moderators of the night’s event.
Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party will take his turn on the next presidential encounter which is coming off on Friday, November 18, 2016.
The GBC/ Star Ghana One-on-One Encounter with Presidential Candidates is in partnership with the National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, with funding from STAR Ghana.