he Minister designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, has spelt out the job creation agenda of the government and called for a job impact assessment in the various institutions, with the target to timeously create a specific number of jobs.
He said mainstreaming job creation in all sectors was key to ensuring that institutions were committed to setting job creation targets within a given period.
Answering questions when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) yesterday, Mr Baffour-Awuah said if approved, he would ensure that the Occupational Health and Safety Bill was returned to Parliament, explaining that when passed, the law could create thousands of jobs for the youth.
He explained that occupational health and safety was key to industrialisation and that with the passage of the bill, institutions would be compelled to engage the services of health and safety personnel, thereby creating job opportunities for a segment of society.
While expressing regret at the lack of data on employment in the country, Mr Baffour-Awuah said when given the nod, he would ensure the creation of a database that would segment people with their professions and qualifications for easy targeting.
Touching on the issue of getting professionals to stay and work in deprived communities, the nominee acknowledged the difficulty in getting such professionals to work in deprived areas, adding that to change that situation, his ministry would work hand in hand with district assemblies to improve the state of institutions to attract the needed professionals.
He also underscored the need for the assemblies to provide incentives to retain professionals in such places.
He assured the various workers’ unions of an open-door policy if given the opportunity to function as a minister, adding that he would respect workers and give them a fair hearing in the resolution of problems.
Asked what he would do to stop the inhuman treatment innocent Ghanaians went through at the hands of expatriate employees, Mr Baffour-Awuah posited that what had to be done was to embark on education for workers to know their rights and report any such incidents.
On casual workers whose contracts were not regularised after six months, as spelt out by the law, the minister designate asked people in such situations to report to the Labour Department for the necessary action.
Work and Housing Minister designate
Next to take his turn was the Minister designate for Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, who identified the lack of resources and attention as the cause of the huge housing deficit in the country.
He further said low-income levels and high cost of houses on sale were other challenges.
He reckoned that the housing deficit was not because there were no investors but that the major issue had to do with investors having returns on investments, as the average Ghanaian could not afford a decent house.
“Here, by reason of low-income levels and the expensive houses we have, addressing housing challenges will be difficult,” Mr Atta Akyea stated
He suggested multiple schemes of mortgage financing with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) by setting aside some portions of pension funds to solve the problem of high cost of houses.
He also proposed the identification of special purpose banks that appreciated the essence of mortgage to provide good mortgage arrangements.
He lauded the previous administration for continuing the affordable housing project initiated by the Kufuor administration and gave an assurance that the current government would continue from where the Mahama administration left off.
Mr Atta Akyea stated that until current projects were completed, new projects would not be initiated and added that “when the budget is read and investor confidence is back, we will ensure the completion of housing units”.
Responding to questions on the perennial flooding situation in Accra and other parts of the county, the minister designate attributed the phenomenon to an interplay of factors and deplored the haphazard manner in which buildings are put up and the whole regime of poor sanitation.
To resolve that challenge, he spoke about going back to the Conti Project, which detailed the entire problem of the flooding situation in Accra and how to overcome it.
The nominee gave an assurance that the government would revisit the project, with funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to bring an end to the situation.
He talked about reviving the defunct Public Works Department (PWD) by supporting it financially to rake in some money to sustain itself.
Mr Atta Akyea underscored the need to amend the Rent Act to give meaning to the government’s commitment to solve the housing needs of the people.