The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, has suggested to policymakers to give serious attention to the high rate of unemployment which is the biggest weakness of the economy.
He expressed worry that for too long the gloomy situation had been reflecting in public discourse and that government policies over the years are not geared towards job creation.
Prof. Aryeetey made the suggestion at the launch of the 20th State of the Ghanaian Economy Report for 2010 and the Mid-Year Review for 2011 in Accra on Friday.
It coincided with the launch of the CD-Rom version of the 2009 Report and it is the expectation of the Institute of Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER) in future download future Reports on the Internet.
Prof. Aryeetey pointed out that “there are too many structural constraints designed for free market economies since some work directly and others indirectly to generate incentives for employment”.
Projecting a gloomy picture of the graduate unemployment situation in the next five years, he indicated that about 50 per cent would not find jobs in the next two years and 20 per cent in the next three years since the nation is currently producing graduates “who are selling products people are not buying.”
Prof. Aryeetey stressed the need for a comprehensive industrial policy to address the challenges since it is not the responsibility of universities to create jobs but to develop skills and knowledge.
“Good industrial policy should not allow the State to generate jobs but designed to network for the private sector to generate the jobs”, he said.
Nana Owusu Afari, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, called for more harmonious relationship between industry and academia to properly evaluate the performance of the economy.
He raised concerns about the high cost of doing business in the country and pointed out that the prevailing lending rates were reflecting on the high cost of credit.
Nana Afari observed that though there had been significant growth in the economy, there was the need for government to cushion industries against unfair global competition for the sector to survive.