Preliminary results of a survey that monitored Government's policies and programmes to create jobs have indicated that a total of 59,504 jobs were created in the first half of 2006. Out of the number, 72.53 per cent, which represented 43,159 jobs, were created within the agricultural sector with the services and the industrial sectors employing 9,758 jobs (16.4 per cent) and 6,187 jobs (11.1 per cent), respectively.
The achievement of the high number of jobs for the period was the result of Government's interventions to address the unemployment challenge in the country.
Deputy Government Statistician, Professor Nicholas Nsowah-Nuamah, said last Tuesday that tracking of job creation efforts of the Government had become necessary following the adoption of Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy and the subsequent implementation of a more focused growth strategy under the 2006 Budget.
He told journalists in Accra that unemployment remained a critical challenge in the country's development efforts and the Government devoted the 2006 Budget to tackle unemployment.
The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), therefore, undertook the exercise to provide information to help to identify policy priorities, evaluate the overall success of an employment framework or analyse which programmes worked and which did not.
The survey, however, did not take into consideration jobs lost during the period but the GSS would undertake a comprehensive programme to study both employment and unemployment situation of the country in its next study.
The GSS in undertaking the exercise took into cognisance the three key interventions contained in the Budget to address the unemployment problems. These were to promote policies aimed to increase demand and opportunities for more people to be employed. The other two interventions were to provide programmes and incentives to ensure that those to be employed were properly trained and equipped and to utilise 22 per cent of total expenditures on employment generating activities including agriculture, skills training and the provision of infrastructure.
Prof Nsowah-Nuamah said for the purposes of tracking the jobs created, the budget further categorised the interventions under five focal areas, mainly the macro-economic policies, employment generation programmes, development of employment growth sectors, institutional strengthening and roll out of existing programmes.
Macro-economic policies for job creation in 2006 covered capital market development; micro-finance and small loans scheme; VAT refunds and tax credits for employers, among other things. The employment generation interventions involved interventions such as the national youth employment programmes, which targeted 200,000 jobs, on the job training and alternative livelihood development programme.
The development of employment growth sectors also concentrated on agro-processing, tourism and hospitality with 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in mining and non-traditional exports.
The roll out of existing programmes was to create jobs under the President's Special Initiatives, the construction industry, disease and pest control, metro mass transit transport, Electricity Company of Ghana distribution system and Self Help Electrification Projects (SHEP) among other programmes.
Mr John Amankrah, Team Leader of the Survey, who gave specifics of the results, said with the exception of the construction industry, all other areas mentioned were monitored at both the national and district levels.
He said the macro-economic policy to provide tax incentives to create jobs was of particular significance since the strategy created a total of 1,641 jobs. Out of this number 926 jobs (88.9 per cent) were created from tax incentives enjoyed by the services sector while the agriculture sector created 113 jobs from tax incentives.
Mr Amankrah said 14,544 jobs were created through the mass cocoa spraying exercise while the PSI on cassava created 12,467 jobs in the agriculture sector. Timber companies created the largest number of jobs in the industrial sector with its 6,317 jobs. The Team Leader said a striking feature of the jobs creation efforts was the National Voluntary Programme of the National Service Scheme, which created 2,509 jobs in various sectors of the economy.
He said the national service scheme created 421 volunteers to support the newly created district assemblies while 77 jobs were created through attachment and on-the-job-training for the industrial sector while the national health insurance scheme created 677 jobs. The jobs created under the metro mass transit programme excluded those absorbed from the omnibus transport services.