June 24, 2011

Employment and Social Welfare Minister, Mr. ET Mensah, said the inability to produce labour market data and statistics on regular bases hampered impact monitoring of government policy on employment, incomes and poverty.

He said the time had come to step up investment in the collection and analysis of labour market statistics on timely and regular basis to enable proper evaluation of employment impact on national economic policies and programmes on job creation, income inequality and poverty reduction.

Mr Mensah who was answering questions in parliament said unemployment remained a major development issue in many countries, especially among the youth.

He said the fifth round of the Ghana living standard survey conducted in 2005/2006 indicated that about 9.14 million Ghanaians were employed, while 2.653 million were unemployed, according to survey.

The survey added that 637,000 of the non-working group were available for work while 283,000 had made some attempts to seek for job.

He lamented that the current figures which could have been extracted from the 2010 population census were yet to be released.

Mr Mensah said the rate of unemployment for adults ranging between 15 and 64 years based on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition was 3.6 per cent in 2006.

“If we remove the upper age limit of the 64, the rate of unemployment becomes 3.0 per cent for adults aged from 15 years and above” he said.
He said the ILO defined unemployment as the proportion of the labour force that have no jobs but are available for work and actively seeking work.

“In Ghana many people may be jobless and available for work but may not necessarily be seeking work,” he said and described the ILO definition as narrow.

On the basis of the ILO’s narrow definition of unemployment, he stated that unemployment rate for young persons between the ages of 15 and 19 years was estimated at 5.0 per cent, 7.6 for 20 to 24 years, 5.1 for 25 to 29 years, 2.3 for 30-39 years, 1.1 for 40-49 years, 1.3 for 50-59 years and 1.1 per cent for 60 years and above.

He said if the phrase “seeking job” was removed from the definition the unemployment rate would increase to 6.5 per cent from 3.0 for age 15 years and above.

He said the thrust of National Employment Policy was to achieve freely chosen productive and gainful employment for every Ghanaian who was available and willing to work.

The House also adopted a motion to waive Value Added Tax amounting to US0,000.00 in respect of the construction of phase-one of the National Communication Backbone Network project.

The project when completed would enhance the provision of communication services nation wide.