President John Mahama has said that the unemployment rate, especially among the youth, is high because many of the unemployed graduates are not skilled, indicating that he is not a magician to put money in their pockets.
The president, who said his government has no magic wand to put money into people’s pockets, encouraged the youth to take advantage of government’s numerous initiatives to make ends meet.
According to President Mahama, “The fact of life is that you can only have money in your pocket if you work and earn it and so there is no magic to put money into people’s pockets…That is why government is investing as much as it is investing to try and provide our people with the skills that they need to enter the world of work.”
He added, “If you sit at home and you don’t take advantage of the opportunities, money is not going to magically appear in your pocket…so what government is doing is investing to create the situation so that as many of our people can take the opportunities as possible; and we are doing this in all sectors.”
The president admitted making some mistakes in his administration, but said those mistakes were done in ‘good faith.’
He said his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government had created many job opportunities but the jobs sector lacks skilled Ghanaians to fill the vacancies.
“There is saturation in some professions that the economy can take, so they won’t have ready jobs once they finish their education,” President Mahama said when he took his turn at the televised 2016 Presidential Encounter hosted by Ghana Television (GTV) on Wednesday ahead of the December 7 general elections.
“Strangely, statistics have shown that many skilled professionals, particularly in the health, education and other services sectors, are currently struggling to find employment and the president’s assertion appears to be a direct contradiction of what is on the ground,” underscored a labour expert who did not want to be mentioned.
President Mahama used his personal experience to encourage the youth to add value to their education so that they become more employable on the job market.
He said he was a teacher before he branched into Communication Studies after his first degree and noted that some graduates need to weigh their interests in the job market vis a vis what is available.
He tasked tertiary institutions to introduce more guidance and counselling for young students to have a fair understanding of the job prospects before graduation, adding that currently, the economy is growing in areas like oil and gas, engineering, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and asked the youth to take advantage of the opportunities in these sectors.
He described his term in office so far as a “very challenging” one and assured that there were “brighter” days ahead.
He commented: “The critical challenge that faces every leader today is the issue of creating jobs for young people…we’ve had to make many very challenging decision points and I believe that those decision points have been made in the interest of national progress and development…you suffer to gain…you don’t get any good thing without striving for it. We are going to take Ghana to the next level.
“The heavy lifting has been done. Over the last four years we’ve done the heavy lifting. We’ve been involved in building the foundation. These four years have been foundation laying…and I believe that in my second term, there is not much heavy lifting to be done.”