Concerning PRIORITIES AS A NATION, it is with a heavy and sorrowful heart that I pen down this article. I have for the past weeks been pondering, lamenting and meditating on what wrong(s) did we do as a nation being it in the present or in the past and this has really taken a toll out of me in recent times.
The Ghana immigration service (GIS) on the 27th day of November 2017 began the sale of its application form for qualified Ghanaian citizens to put in their application. I understand a whopping 84,000 copies of the said forms were sold at GHC 50 per copy of which only 500 successful applicants will be shortlisted and eventually undergo training to serve this great country of ours. This move by the authorities beats common sense and logical reasoning but that is a subject for discussion at a later date and I wouldn’t want to go into the nitty gritty of that.
I have been following with keen interest the rate at which the forms were sold out. When the forms were released, these unemployed citizens of which most of them are either SHS graduates or graduates from our various tertiary institutions queued at the various sales point as early as 6 am. The fact that all 84,000 copies were sold out and even if they had made 1 million copies, those copies would have eventually been sold out should tell all and sundry, infact every concerned citizen how serious and threatening the issue of unemployment has become
I watched a video circulating on social media how tens and thousands of the teeming youth have gathered from somewhere around 37 trotro station through to the El-wak sports stadium to undergo the screening process. This was one of my saddest days as a Ghanaian and with my inconsolable posture, I had to put this write up together.
Mr. President, permit me to ask a harmless question, what is the biggest challenge confronting this country? Is it the inability of pupils from the junior high schools to be enrolled into our second cycle institutions due to their guidance being financially handicapped? Or students at the various training institutions not receiving allowances on monthly basis to learn? Or is it the fact that an average of 80,000 graduates from our tertiary institutions (excluding training institutions) complete national service with no mechanism put in place to absorb such alarming figure annually?
I would want to touch on each of the aforementioned questions in the above paragraph.
Mr. President, I must say that I have a strong reservation about your flagship FSHS program which you launched a couple of months ago. The state is expected to be pumping in an amount of over GHC 400 million each academic year to sustain FSHS. Indeed FSHS was a major campaign promise among other juicy promises on which Ghanaians gave you an overwhelming endorsement on December 7, 2016.
Mr. President, you have on countless occasions expressed worry over the state of the Ghanaian economy you inherited from your predecessor and as we speak today, the economy of Ghana is on life support. Should the state be spending that huge amount (GHC 1.2 billion at the end the 3 year period) on providing and sustaining FSHS? Mr. President, why not using that money to industrialize Ghana by establishing more companies/industries? In any case, what happens to our high school folks upon completing SHS?
If my Auntie who sells tomatoes at Kejetia market, if my Auntie who sells cassava at Techiman market knows very well that their wards would gain employment upon graduation, they wouldn’t hesitate in even selling their piece of cloth for their wards education.
- RESTORATION OF ALLOWANCE
Again it saddens my heart that, the Akuffo Addo led NPP government thought it wise to restore teacher and nursing training allowance amidst the alarming rate of unemployment. My checks have it that, in excess of GHC 243 million is required each academic year to pay students at the nursing and teacher training institutions for apparently no work done or better still, they will be paid for learning. Isn’t it ironic that such an amount will be invested in a venture of which not even a pesewa can be profited from. Mr. President, do you know how many hospitals, polyclinics, clinics, chip compounds as well as schools that can be built within a period of 4 years which will eventually employ these same students?
- GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT
My third and final point has to do with the increasing number of graduates being churn out year in and year out with no space to absorb them.
I had the opportunity to serve the nation in the form of national service with the minerals commission of Ghana from 2013 to 2014. The total number of service persons in that particular service year was around 77,000 and I ask myself a fundamental question, what has become of that number? Let us assume that 7,000 out of the figure have gainfully been employed, what is the remaining 70,000 doing?
We are being told that the number of service personnel deployed this very year is in excess of 100,000. Mr. President doesn’t this scare you?
Clearly, our setbacks as a country are not paying students in our training institutions (which is needless in my candid opinion). It is also not the inability of parents to pay the fees of their wards.
If our brothers and sisters from our various tertiary institutions are employed (not these unsustainable youths for this, youth for that temporal jobs), they would be able to pay the fees of our younger ones.
Mr. President, with all due respect, re-channel all these resources being used to fulfil your campaign promises into curbing the unemployment menace as a matter of urgency which is getting out of control as the years go by.