‘The broad agenda for 2018 is to create jobs’

Accra, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, the Deputy Minister of Finance, says the broad agenda for 2018 and the medium term is to create jobs leading to prosperity and equal opportunities for all Ghanaians.

He said the unemployment situation in the country was a security threat that needed robust measures to address and that was why the 2018 Budget was tailored to meet the needs of the citizenry, but more importantly, to create the enabling environment for jobs to thrive.

We believe that 2018 holds a lot of prospects for every Ghanaian, hence our introduction of specific policy initiatives to create jobs in 2018 and the medium term, he said.

Mr Kwarteng said this at the opening of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information and the Information Services Department (ISD) 2018 Budget Training Workshop for information officers in Accra on Saturday.

The two-day workshop brought together information officers from all the 10 regions to be trained, deliberate, share and exchange ideas on the budget and how to disseminate the acquired information to the citizenry at the various levels.

The workshop, on the theme: Putting Ghana Back to Work, is also a part of the Government’s efforts at revamping the ISD.

In a speech read on behalf of the Finance Minister, Mr Kwarteng noted that two initiatives would be used to create jobs in 2018 and the medium term.

The two are the Nation’s Builders Corps and the Akufo-Addo Plan for Economic Transformation, he said.

The Deputy Minister said those were well thought out programmes that would address the national security risk posed by the growing graduate unemployment, especially through the Nation’s Builders Corps (NBCs).

Mr Kwarteng said the NBC would have the goals of improving service delivery, skills and employability as well as improving government’s revenue mobilisation through the employment of unemployed graduates and would hire 100,000 graduates with an average of 462 graduates per district.

He, therefore, mentioned graduate teachers in Teach Ghana, sanitation inspectors in Clean Ghana, trained nurses and other healthcare workers in Heal Ghana, trained agricultural extension and other allied workers in Feed Ghana and tertiary graduates in a Revenue Ghana as some of the programmes the NBCs would be focusing on.

He said: The NBCs will not over burden the wage bill, indeed our wage to GDP ratio is high, however, we have made adequate provisions in the budget for the programme to be sustainable.

On the Akufo-Addo Plan for Economic Transformation (AAPET), the Deputy Minister said it would open up key food basket zones through road construction and irrigation projects, as well the ramping up of investments under the Planting for Food and Jobs Policy and the launching of major pension schemes for cocoa farmers among others.

Mr Kwarteng indicated that the policy initiatives were not the only programmes that would create jobs but a lot of other programmes would also do so adding; Municipal and district assemblies developmental programmes will also create more jobs.

He commended the ISD for the effective dissemination of the 2017 Budget.

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Deputy Minister of Information, said the programme was a coordinated approach where participants would have a detailed understanding of the 2018 Budget and enhance their works in their various sectors.

It is our hope that today and tomorrow all of us will get a deeper understanding of what the 2018 Budget holds for the country, he said.

He encouraged Ministries, Departments and Agencies to collaborate with ISD for government programmes to be available to the citizenry in the various regions and communities they represented.

Mr Nkrumah advised the participants to be empowered through the training and step out boldly towards the sensitisation of the citizenry on the 2018 Budget.

He lauded the Ministry of Finance for the availability of resources for the broad engagement of the information officers, and urged it to increase the allocation in subsequent budgets.

The Overview of 2017 Macro and Outlook for 2018, Tax Policy and Policy Initiatives were among the topics discussed at the workshop.

Source: Ghana News Agency