Jobs have been a major challenge to governments of Ghana moments after the 1966 coup that overthrew Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
This was because the integrated social and economic infrastructure earmarked for the country were abandoned and in some cases, handed to the unskilled hands of friends and cronies.
A little history would do. The infamous Apolo 567 was implemented soon after the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. Under this order, 568 directors and senior officers who were in charge of the over 400 industries and factories totalling 568 were sacked and replaced with friends and cronies of the administration that took over even though they had no skills.
Per history, individuals who were sent on the account of government into the advanced world to secure training and to return and help man these factories and industries never returned because of fear of the unknown causing them to disperse in the diaspora to enable them make good use of their skills for a living.
Fast forward, modern governments and especially those under the 4th Republican Constitution have had to carry a baggage of graduates of successive governments from the Universities and Polytechnics.
Until this phenomenon emerged, graduates had no problems securing jobs after school. Stories were told of graduates having the right to brush off institutions that requested for them to be employed based on their unpopularity. So was the case.
The state was opened up to enable private participation in our educational institutions. Today, from Crèche to the Universities, the private sector is fairly competing in training our children. This phenomenon had resulted in increased numbers of students being churned out without a commensurate effort to provide jobs to meet their demands.
This issue has become a threat to our national security. An unemployed youth with skills, places the nation at risk. It is on the back of this that discussing the challenges of unemployment must be looked at.
In Ghana, the public sector has on its employment list, some 600,000 Ghanaians out of a total population of near or about 27 million. This clearly reveals that no government of today can absorb all graduates into the public sector as others would have us believe.
This clearly establishes the fact that the private sector becomes the obvious saviour. The pursuit for profit and the need to cut cost in such a pursuit, limits the number of people that would be admitted into private organizations.
This is where the problem lies. What is of great importance is a clear manifestation of efforts at developing the public and private sectors. There are certain strategic institutions that cannot be left in the hands of private individuals. Allowing that to happen would result in government losing control of protecting the poor and vulnerable in society. That would equally limit the control of government as its institutions would grind to a halt.
Aside putting efforts at providing employment in the public sector in the areas of education, health, ministries, departments and agencies, the limitations in the structures have made all efforts at that insignificant, raising issues of which way could be the alternative.
While looking at the possible options, we cannot refuse to accept claims that government is not providing employment to its citizens. That would be a misleading position. We can look at the numbers in relation to the number of graduates released into the job market. If that is done, we can demand more. Even in that discussion, we must pause to ask how far we can demand from government knowing very well the limitations.
For those who would want us believe that no one is being employed, can we be truthful to ourselves and ask, what of the teachers and nurses who come out of school each year baring the delays that sometimes meet their employment?
The expansions in hospital infrastructure means more health professionals and other staff would be employed. Currently, the intervention that is adding 6,000 hospital beds would result in the employment of doctors, nurses, mid-wives, and other hands.
In the area of education, while we cry of the many teachers being churned out, we cannot assume to lose sight of the increased number of educational infrastructure. That equally provide employment for teachers and other non-teaching staff. Whichever way we look at it, some hands are being engaged.
Inasmuch as I share greatly in the difficulty of completing school and sitting home without jobs to do, I would disagree with anyone who would suggest that we abandon the building of schools since the government seems unable to provide employment to the teeming graduates. I am of a firm belief that no matter the difficulties, having education without a job from government remain better and superior to not having any education for fear of not landing a job.
Education teaches us not only to think, but also to create. With some appreciable level of education, the thinking process is much sharpened. One is able to measure the options available to any given situation before deciding.
Today, it may seem possible for any politician, for the purpose of power, to present to you hopes of providing jobs to all citizens. That is impossible. The reality remains the same. No government can absorb more than the existing structures can contain. With the interplay of lowering cost and maximising effort as well as minimising public spending, it would be absurd for any such hopes to be given.
What we must also look at is that, it remains a headache only to a socialist government to provide jobs for the teeming skilled labour. Capitalist governments are only concerned about putting private sector in the chain of employment. My submissions in previous paragraphs that establishes the focus of private businesses exposes the lapses in using that vehicle to provide jobs for all willing and able to work.
Efforts must be clearly geared towards tackling this issue devoid of politics. It would require greater efforts to strategically position this nation to reduce drastically the rate of unemployment. It is not a problem that can be resolved over night and politicians must be told in the face that we understand the reality and would not stand for political promises just for votes.