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30.10.2008 Politics

Skill training is the means to providing jobs for the youth - Prof. Mills

By gna
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Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on Wednesday said he would equip the youth with employable skills to enable them to find jobs when elected President of Ghana.

He said many of the youth were finding it difficult to get jobs after school because they did not possess the requisite skills that would enable them to get employment.

Prof Mills was answering a question on how his administration would create job opportunities for the unemployed at a presidential debate organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs in Accra.

The debate brought together the candidates of the four political parties with representation in Parliament - New Patriotic Party (NPP), People's National Convention (PNC and Conventions People's Party (CPP)- to address issues of common concerns.

They included job creation; the management of anticipated oil revenue; women and children's rights; provision of adequate electricity and the fast tracking the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols.

Prof Mills said his administration would accelerate growth in the agriculture sector to generate employment for the people.

He said the fact that 60 per cent of the population was engaged in the sector made it imperative for any government to address the needs of the sector.

In this direction, an NDC Government would implement policies such as the provision of subsidies; reduction of post-harvest losses and the institution of a buffer stock management system as a means of providing ready market for produce and thereby encourage farmers to produce more and entice others to the sector.

There would also be linkages between agricultural production and industry to allow for the processing of the produce.

Prof Mills identified the major challenges facing the country's industries to include high cost of production; low skill levels of the workforce and the dumping of cheap and inferior goods on Ghanaian markets and said these would be addressed to enable the private sector to create jobs and employment.

Touching on the oil discovery, he said, it was necessary that the country learnt from the experiences of other countries where instead of being a blessing to the economy, oil had turned out to engender violent conflicts.

Prof Mills said his administration would ensure that the country received a fair share of the oil revenue and pledged to make provision for the present and future generations through the use of part of the oil money to shore up the economy.

In this connection, he said, an independent authority, a body that would monitor the operations in the oil sector would be established to keep Ghanaians abreast of the operations of the industry.

On Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Prof Mills said such investments must not be at the expense of local initiatives to grow the economy, saying that they were welcomed as long as it would help to supplement efforts of local entrepreneurs.

Prof Mills said the NDC Government would put into operation the Osagyefo Electricity Generating Barge; build minor hydroelectric dams on Pra and Ankobra Rivers and exploit wind and solar energy to augment the present electricity generating capacity of the country.

He said he would work to gain the confidence of Presidents of neighbouring countries in order to facilitate the integration of West African States.

His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, Chairman of the IEA Presidential Debates Committee, said democracy was truly exercised when the electorate was knowledgeable and informed about the options before it.

The IEA, he said, had initiated the process to enable aspirants to debate on common issues of concern to all Ghanaians and to answer questions from the electorate.

In all, there were eleven major questions, which focused on job creation, education, health, security, law and order, oil revenue, energy, women and children's rights, foreign direct investment, food security and intra-regional trade.

There were four rounds of four questions each. For the first two rounds each candidate had three minutes to answer a major questions and a minute for rebuttal, which was optional.

Two minutes was allotted for major questions in the third and fourth rounds and each was given an extra two minutes to make concluding remarks.