About three million jobs were created in the first term of the Akufo Addo administration, and 3,000 lost in the banking crisis, Mr Ignatius Baafour-Awuah, Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations has announced.
The employment activities were multi-sectoral as the Minister-designate explained to the Appointments Committee of Parliament, in Accra, that the outfit writes the various sectors of the economy to collect, collate and transmit the data.
The Minister-designate said the jobs created were in both the public and private sectors, with the data being sourced mainly among others from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) records.
The work of the Appointment Committee of Parliament, currently chaired by Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Bekwai, is based on the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament.
The Committee recommends to Parliament for approval or persons nominated by President for appointment as Minister of State, Deputy Minister, Members of Council of State, the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court and any other persons specified under the Constitution or under any other enactment.
The Minister-designate, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani West Constituency, who was the immediate past Minister for the same sector, was being vetted by the Committee, as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had nominated him again on the same portfolio.
Mr Baafour-Awuah told the Committee that his checks on the employment figures in September 2020 revealed that there had been three million, both private and public sectors, in the last four years,
He said: “Although I had indicated before that the government had created about one million jobs, as of September 2020, when I last checked on the number of jobs we have created, we had so far created jobs for over three million jobs. And these numbers cover both private and public sector works”.
He indicated that there was a high level of informality in employment in Ghana, with about 80 per cent in that sector.
The Committee suggested to the nominee for the Ministry to capture more accurate levels of employment, including job migration and job losses to help discussions on the job market.
According to the Minister-designate, about 3000 jobs were lost in the recent banking crisis.
“The number of jobs lost as a result of the banking sector collapse was around the vicinity of 3,000”, he said.
On maternity leave for working mothers, the Minister-designate said the issue of whether to increase the period of maternity leave form 12 weeks as practiced in Ghana as against 14 weeks stipulated by International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 183 would be a major issue soon to be discussed at the Tripartite Level.
On where he personally stands on the matter, he responded: “I’m indifferent.”
On occupational safety legislation, Mr Baafour-Awuah said there were pockets of laws, but a proposal had been made to Cabinet on a new law, which will seek to regulate occupational health and safety.
He announced that a Labour Market Information System will be ready by the end of the third years of the current government.
With fears that cocoa consumers may begin to reject the cocoa and its products if the employment of child labour is not checked, Mr Baafuor Awuah said the “issue of child labour needs to be confronted heads on”.
He said the issue that needs urgent attention, and the sector Ministry together with its partners, has consequently developed a national plan of action to combat the phenomenon.
He described child labour as a big societal problem, so much that some legislators in Ghana’s Parliament were not able to fully appreciate it.
In response to a question from Mr Eric Opoku, a member of the Committee and MP for Asunafo South, on what action was taken in reaction to research by the US Department of Labour, which raised issues of child labour in cocoa-producing areas.
The enquiry on cocoa production areas in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire found a very high incidence of child labour.
He observed that some MPs needed to learn and know more about child labour.
“I must agree that we have a huge task on our hand, in the sense that I remember in this very House, once a colleague of ours brought a statement on child labour.
“And I heard some of our colleagues contributing to the statement, it showed you the level of understanding of issues of labour and even amongst members of this house and we are supposed to be the lead eye of society.