Accra, Nov. 22, GNA - The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, has urged government to pay attention to the mass unskilled youth and senior secondary school (SHS) certificate holders.
According to a survey conducted by ISSER, 40.1 per cent of the Ghanaian youth from 15 to 35 years have not received any form of education with only 3.8 per cent acquiring tertiary education qualification.
The Institute said the unemployment rate in the country for persons with SHS certificates was the highest constituting 19.3 per cent and 11.3 per cent Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) holders.
The Institute therefore, asked government to come out with transformative industrial policy to enhance the skills of the youth because the most sustainable way of providing hope for these youths was through industrialisation and structural transformation of the national economy.
Dr Charles Godfred Ackah, the Head of Economics Division of ISSER, said this at a media conference in Accra, to express the Institute's views on the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy Statement of government.
He said the Ghanaian economy was still heavily dependent on the production and export of primary products such as cocoa, gold and crude oil and, therefore, the country risked suffering from economic shocks in the event of downward pricing of those commodities on the international market.
Dr Ackah noted: 'The challenge facing Ghana, as with many other African countries, is to transform the economy from a resource-dependence one to a dynamic and diversified industrial economy'.
He said it was therefore surprising that the priority of government in the 2018 budget seemed to be enhancing the fortunes of graduates, instead of the mass unskilled youth.
He said the National Builders Corps programme in the budget projected to hire 100,000 graduates, the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation plan also focused on providing tax reliefs to graduates who take up entrepreneurship.
'While commending government for such active labour market policies, we encourage government to pay attention to the mass of unskilled secondary school certificate holders,' he emphasised.
Dr Ackah said one of the most important features of any industrialisation programme was the role of transformative industrial policy.
'We need to re-visit the idea of selective industrial policy targeted at agriculture-based manufacturing (agro-industry), following the sterling examples of Brazil, China, Chile and Malaysia.
'The success story of China is not only fascinating but a clear testament to a simple yet highly relevant policy recommendation of today's developing countries if you want to prosper, you need to make stuff from textiles, garments and toys to electronics and ships and automobiles,' he noted.
Dr Ackah said a United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Report indicated that, over the last three decades, Brazil had been among the most active countries in terms of her use of policies designated to expand natural-resource-processing industries and food production.
'Today, Brazil is among the top three producers and exporters of orange juice, sugar, coffee, soya bean, beef, pork and chicken,' he stated.
He said Chile succeeded in the 1990s to become the largest exporter of farmed salmon in the world and main exporter of fresh processed fruit and tomatoes.