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10.11.2005 Business & Finance

BUDGET: Government to increase access to jobs

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Accra, Nov 10, GNA - Government on Thursday said it would adopt pragmatic policies to promote and increase demand and opportunities to enhance employment.

Additionally, government will ensure that workers were able to earn meaningfully to sustain their basic life needs of food, clothing, and shelter as well as be able to save a little for their retirement. Presenting the 2006 budget to Parliament, Finance Minister Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said government would buttress its desire to create jobs with programmes and incentives that ensure adequate training for those to be employed to improve on their performance and productivity levels.

In this direction, Mr Baah-Wiredu said, Government would provide grants and tax credits for companies or firms who hired and trained young people in order to improve their access to the job market. The scheme will cover students undertaking vacation training and fresh graduates needing to be prepared to handle specialized tasks. Mr Baah-Wiredu said Government was aware that many young people were caught in a vicious cycle of not being able to get work because they were deemed to lack the right work experience while they were at the same time denied opportunities to obtain the requisite experience to improve their chances of gainful employment.

He said a major part of the problem was the reluctance of employers to make substantial investments in training young people only to see them move on to greener pastures at the earliest possible opportunity.

Government, he said, had been encouraged by the continuing commitment of the country's private sector to seek new opportunities to establish industries that add tangible value to our economic fortunes. "Government is grateful to local manufacturers for keeping faith with our country, and continuing to make substantial investments as well as creating valuable jobs for our people," he said.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said Government remained sympathetic to the cause of local manufacturing sector that they could achieve greater competitiveness and employ many more Ghanaians if the excess capacity of their facilities was utilized.

Government has also heard of the cry from the private sector for it to create a fair and equitable playing field for indigenous value-added products to compete with imports.

Mr Baah-Wiredu expressed Government's appreciation for the faith and commitment of local industries by leading the campaign to patronize 'Made in Ghana" by example rather than exhortation.

He said the Public Procurement Act had been promulgated to encourage the procurement of local goods, adding that Clause 60 of the Act, dealing with 'Margin of Preference', offered the premium for public agencies to buy Made in Ghana goods of comparable quality.

The Minister gave the assurance that the government and all Public Agencies would be the first to sign onto the 'BUY GHANA FIRST' policy to demonstrate support for the efforts of the local value-added industries and also to facilitate the creation of more jobs for the youth.