Some technocrats have reiterated the need for major political parties to design manifestos that address critical developmental issues such as job creation much more holistically.
The speakers at the launch of the CDD Manifesto Project, a compilation of issues and Evidence on Key sectors in Ghana, which seeks to promote Responsive and Responsible Manifestos for Inclusive Development touched on unemployment, gaps in the health sector, education, planning and urban development and governance challenges, and provided solutions for same.
The Head of the Economics Department at the University of Ghana, Prof. William Baah-Boateng , who spoke on employment said the unavailability of data on unemployment rate makes it difficult to measure jobs created by governments.
“Unemployment data is an issue in Ghana. There is a definition of what is unemployment rate, but in Ghana there is a misconception about unemployment rate,” he said.
Prof. Baah-Boateng explained there are internationally accepted criterion for measuring employment rate which must meet some basic standards.
He stated for example that workers are required to receive decent remunerations as well as a pension contributions.
Using the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) initiative in his analysis, Prof. Baah-Boateng said even though government categorizes the policy under employment rate, workers were not making any form of pension contribution which means it does not meet the full requirement as prescribed by the employment rate.
“If you do an analysis and break NABCO down, it will be difficult to even categorize it. Is it under public sector or what? Is it a decent job? If you talk about a decent job you expect to have social protection as part of it”, he noted.
Giving some recommendations, Prof. Baah-Boateng said job creation must be targeted at critical areas of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.
He maintained that such areas have the tendencies to create ripple effects in the economy thereby creating more jobs.
For Ghana’s labour force to be fit and work as expected, the panel emphasized the need for political parties to show commitment in long-term investments in the health sector.
A Senior Lecturer and Health Economist at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr. Abekah-Nkrumah, expressed worry that Ghana’s health system is not built to withstand a pandemic such as COVID-19.
He said if Ghana had a robust public health system, it would have handled the pandemic in a much better way than the current approach where the fight is being coordinated from the presidency.
He called for a review of the National Health Insurance policy to ensure efficiency and sustainability, by ensuring private entities or district assemblies get involved in the running of health facilities without central government’s excessive involvement to ensure high levels of quality and accountability in service delivery.
“If the NHIA was sustainable and had enough funds, we wouldn’t have faced the financial challenges now with the outbreak of the pandemic”.
On his part, Planning and Urban Development Consultant, Bernard Arthur, called on political parties to consider a comprehensive housing programme as they design their manifestos to address the issue of access to housing for majority of Ghanaians.
“Government’s responsibility essentially for housing has hovered basically around the civil service. But if you talk about the larger population, often housing is not considered as government’s key responsibility. If you look at some of the projects that were implemented including sites and services, government tried to just link up settlements with electricity, water and all that, but left the development to individuals to do.”
Speaking on governance, the Executive Director of the Center for Democratic Development, Prof H. Kwesi Prempeh, said there is the need to change and amend certain aspects of the constitution since the current status quo makes it comfortable for the political class.
The chairperson of the occasion, Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh, who’s the Vice Chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission launched ‘The Manifesto Project’ report.