Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Thursday said a draft National Policy on Employment and Social Welfare and its Implementation Action Plan had been completed and were expected to be subjected to national validation prior to submission to cabinet.
“The policy seeks to ensure a cross-sectoral approach to employment issues and linkages between institutional training and industry and the ministry will be very much involved in operationalising and strategizing the employment policy when completed,” he said.
He noted that the Ministry in collaboration with the Trades
Union Congress (TUC) and Ghana Employers' Association had organized workshops for informal sector operators on the compliance with labour laws and the positive impact of social protection.
Presenting the 2009 budget to Parliament, he noted that the TUC had prepared a manual to educate participants in the informal sector on their rights, specifically, with regard to legal and social protection.
On fair wages and salaries, he noted the board of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission had been set up and technical staff of the Commission recruited and had since stated operations.
On some of the achievements of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) project, he noted that it was able to respond to the food crises that occurred in the north after the floods last year.
“Madam Speaker, by the end of 2008, LEAP had reached out to over 8,000 households across 54 districts on regular LEAP, while 15,000 households under the Emergency Programme were also supported,” he said.
Dr Duffuor said in pursuance of the National Programme for the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour in cocoa growing areas, a framework and a survey covering 60 per cent of cocoa production land area was undertaken.
“Remediation interventions in 46 administrative districts and training of 120 media personnel to increase the level of awareness about worst forms of child labour in the cocoa sector were also carried out. As a result about 1,246 children were re-integrated into basic schools, formal/informal and vocational institutions,” he explained.
On the physically challenged, he said the Disability Council had been formed and was operational adding that the ministry had completed the construction of a suspended ramp to improve access of People With
Disabilities (PWDs) to the Ministry.
He noted that as part of social protection measures, government had instituted support for PWDs by providing micro-credit through MASLOC.
He reiterated government's committed to the provision of enabling environment for job creation to enable people live descent lives.
On the aged, he said his outfit would by the end of the year finalize
the Ageing Policy and seek new approaches to meet the specific demand of the aging as well the aged.
On employment creation, he said the government would make the National Employment Policy (NEP) and its Implementation Action Plan (IAP) its main vehicle for achieving it.
He said the public employment centres and labour department would be upgraded to provide employment services to potential job seekers and private employment agencies upgraded accordance with LI1833.
The Minster said by the end of the year the government would have ensured that through its skills training institutions, namely, NVTI, ICCES, OIC Ghana about 12,500 young persons in technical and vocational skills would be equipped for self-employment.
“The NVTI will start implementing the National Apprenticeship
Programme under the continuing education programme for those who completed JSS but were unable to access secondary education,” he said.
He reiterated the government's commitment to support and rejuvenate the National Labour Commission to enable it to operate to the satisfaction of the social partners.
More importantly, the ministry would in 2009 initiate an action to engage the Labour Commission, organized labour and employers to advise on the Single-Spine which is to take off this year.
“For the implementation of the above activities, an amount of GH¢32,896,982 has been allocated. Out of this, GoG is GH¢11,037,461 IGF is GH¢3,035,224 Donor is GH¢1,324,297 and MDRI is GH¢17,500,000,” he added.