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Unemployment: a blow to the development of citizens

20 January 2010 | Opinion Blogs

The rule of law and democracy in Ghana seems not to be the only criteria for determining the prospect of a nation, but coupled with the ability of the existing government to fulfill the financial and economical issues of the people. One of the ultimate prides of Ghana is its sustenance of its political stability, however, the economy and growth of Ghana always comes to a standstill, when it comes to the issue of unemployment. Unemployment has been a plague being one of the main contributing factors to the brain drain affecting the country.

Unemployment The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines unemployed as the numbers of the economically active population who are without work, but available for and seeking work, including people who have lost their jobs, and those who have voluntarily left work. There are active and able bodies in Ghana to keep the economy strong when jobs are created for them, but the availability and creation of jobs by the government has always been a mirage to the people.

Unemployment has eventually taken control of the lives of many people, as it is the problem causing a decline in the progress of the economy of the people, and the country as a whole. Citizens tend to lose their jobs when government companies are sold to investors, making the economy extremely difficult for these people, especially breadwinners of our extended family system. It is startling that the government rarely plans to increase the minimum wage or to monitor its payment at various workplaces, and never thinks about the plight of individuals, parents and guardians when increasing utility bills, let alone educational bills.

Unemployment and graduates in Ghana
Unemployment has been a big issue most people of Ghana deal with every now and then, however, the most pathetic of those involved, are the graduate unemployed. Most of the youth in the country in order to make it in life tend to further their education as far as they can. It is rather sad that more of the youth are enrolled into various tertiary institutions annually, but the government never makes provision for job opportunities to suit their various qualifications after their schooling. After long years of education, and dedicating a year to serving the country through the National Service Scheme, they still end up not getting any good offers from the government, and our small sized private sector. The lucky ones sometimes get jobs which are way below their qualifications, while some are even paid even below their education qualifications. The unfortunate ones get stuck at home, with no choice than to engage in all kinds of menial jobs to survive, or better still, migrate in search of greener pastures.

People thrive very hard to go through education to the tertiary level to come out with good grades, only to be unemployed in the long run. How then, can those with no good educational background obtain jobs, if those with better grades do not gain employment at all. From the look of things, the only purpose education seems to be serving, is the eradication of ignorance, but for it to give the people a better life and a good standard of living in this part of world, is an issue yet to be considered. No wonder, some youth of today prefer to go into the music industry, or into football, to explore their talent, rather than waste time and money on education.

Finding a solution to the problem of unemployment is long over due. Sometimes the government forgets to implement some of its policies making it hard for the youth to as well get an opportunity to exploit their potentials. Even though there is no full solution to unemployment in the country, given a bit of attention, government policies can reduce unemployment in a marginal way.

It is about time the government starts to monitor the issue of retirement, so as to make way for fresh students to also get the opportunity to exploit their skills and talents. The government implemented a good initiative when in came out with the National Youth Employment Programme, which currently employs about 108,000 youth in the country. However, this venture is not an absolute solution to unemployment in Ghana. As the definition of the ILO on unemployment fit majority of the people in Ghana, the government must not make these able-bodies idle away.

If the government of Ghana diverts and concentrates a bit of its attention to the development of agriculture and manufacturing, with appropriate policies to monitor it, unemployment in the country can be immensely cut down by a greater margin.


The truth is that the government is doing its best to eradicate the problem of unemployment in the country, no wonder it has opened its doors for investors to come and help reduce the rate of unemployment. Investors are being encouraged to invest day in and day out, but yet still the youth and the matured unemployed never get the opportunity, as the same people already employed always get.

Investors ignore the fact that a graduate, when employed under probation or training, can turn out to be an excellent employee.

Moreover, companies must bear in mind that their investment in the country shouldn't be profit-centered only, but must make it a point to try and fulfill social responsibilities as cooperate bodies. This can be done by giving internship and attachments to students occasionally, this as time goes on, will make these students the experienced people they have always been searching for.

The lack of employment opportunities always results in employees being exploited by their employers, to the extent that they are forced to do extra tasks, which they are not being paid for, and are even outside their profession.

Unemployment leads to a decline in the standard of living of a country's citizens. People will not be able to meet their financial and economic needs. Homelessness can set in, as people will find it difficult to rent houses, no wonder many youth in the country tend to settle with their fellow youth in a one tiny room. Unemployment, apart from resulting in social vices such as armed robbery, prostitution, internet fraud and child labour and trafficking, psychologically takes control of the individual.

The individual has to go through the trauma of not being employed after school graduation, or being sacked from work, all in the name of restructuring and reshuffling, which surely will lead to mental stress.

The ability of a nation developing is the ability of its active labour force making use of their capabilities. The government must therefore start to bring their ideas and paperwork toward employment into actuality, and as well bring about policies concerning investing in the country, which will favour citizens.

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