Is government really the only hope for the provision of employment? This is a question that, for long, I have been asking myself, so far as I hear others scream and be delighted about political parties’ manifestoes on how they will tackle unemployment, some even claiming getting it to zero in the country.
This article’s focus is not to argue whether or not a certain government has failed in the provision of jobs, or, who has superseded who; but rather to draw the attention of those who are keeping hope and are building castles in the air, believing that unemployment can completely be solved by a government.
In my opinion no government can. It boils down to the individual citizens to take pains in doing things, rather than to place all trust in political parties, who by chance, may win power and rule as a government. The question is, what if the party wins power and shifts focus from the sugar coated things said on job provision before the elections; which, of course, happens quite often.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) put Ghana’s unemployment rate at 5.2% in the year 2013, according to their fact sheet records dating as far back as that year. In our contemporary time, it is obvious; the unemployment rate has taken a turn we cannot be proud of; and every year-the country’s universities and other tertiary institutions produce thousands of graduates who are not assured of any employment unlike other developed countries, where, before university students come out of school, they are already placed on a job.
So, the question is, since the year 2013 when the CIA brought to light Ghana’s 5.2% unemployment rate, could the government have provided jobs for all? Well, I am delighted to inform you that some of the ever successful persons in the country never depended on any government. We can name many of them. It is also sad to announce to you, but no less of a reality, that unemployment will continue to exist from the succession of one government to another. This is because the political office itself is an employment for the politician; therefore, how can he or she get you a job?
We can only solve this unemployment issue if we decide to come up with initiatives and master the issue ourselves. I wonder how Koko King came about, Neat Fufu and all the ‘neats’…..but I am sure such businesses were not any government’s provision. Interestingly, they have employed a lot of people. Can you imagine if the owners were to wait for any government?
The CIA’s data did not only come up with the 5.2% unemployment rate; it also gave a clue of a solution to unemployment. It reports that in Ghana, the sector that employs the majority of the employed is the agricultural sector. The sector employed 44.7% of the labour force while the industry and the service sectors employed 15% and 40% respectively in 2013. Looking at these figures and the resources available to Ghana, if we decide to do some mechanized farming with our vast cultivable land, which will automatically absorb some percentage of the unemployed and add up to the 44.7% labour force in agriculture as a nation, we can triumph like America, whose land fertility without the application of fertilizer is incomparable to ours; nevertheless, it does well in agriculture.
Until the unemployed take up the challenge to employ themselves without waiting for the government to employ them, the unemployment rate will continue to rise in our country.