Ghana?s unemployment figures may balloon again this year as the over 71,000 National Service personnel who just completed their service last month join the job hunt for non-existing jobs.
Each year, the country?s number of graduates who make it out of various tertiary institutions increase substantially with no corresponding jobs to absorb the huge numbers.
The situation is set to worsen again this year as government continues its freeze on public sector employment while the private sector also faces expansion constrains due to erratic power supply and other micro-economic instabilities.
Checks by Business Day has also revealed heightened tension among some National service personnel as they gear up to enter the job market after completing their mandatory service to the nation last month.
According to them, these fears and uncertainties have further heightened considering the fact that majority of them served the nation in industries and areas alien to their courses of studies while in school.
Business Day?s interaction with some of these National Service personnel revealed general thoughts of fear and uncertainty about what the ?real world of work? holds for them after their service.
?As at now, I am yet to decide what job I will do but I have decided to apply to different places to increase my chances of finding a job. Though I was teaching in a school outside Accra for my service, I want to work with a media organization since I trained as a journalist. The problem I am facing right now is that I don?t know which media organization to apply to since I have not had any practical experience and most of these media organization would prefer someone who has at least practiced before?, a graduate journalist told Business Day.
?Fortunately for me, I run my own business on the side, which is a Graphic Designing and Brand company. I started that a few years back while in School and I look forward to doing it full time now that I?ve completed my National Service. I don?t intend to apply anywhere unless I?m offered a good part-time job. If I had not started my own business, I?m sure I would have been wondering where to apply to after my service?, Henrietta Adjetey, a graduate from Ghana Institute of Journalism said.
According to her, though she had not sent out applications for a job, she agreed that there were not many job opportunities out there and as such, getting a job will definitely be determined by one?s hard work and skills.
A graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology opined that though his knowledge and skills are great assets which make him confident about securing a job, the number of people who are still unemployed after their service last year means that he would have to put in extra effort to get a good job.
?With the way things are now, it will only take some extraordinary ability to secure a job?, he stressed.
?I don?t think that the job vacancies are proportionate to the number of people who have graduated from the tertiary institutions and have now completed their National Service. However, from a Christian?s point of view, I believe I will get a job soon?, Vincent, a University of Ghana graduate stated.
Speaking to Business Day on the unemployment situation, the CEO of Goshen Investments Mr Bernard Owusu-Mensah said since there was no data to track people and jobs available, government was unable to make clear cut policies to fight unemployment in the country or encourage entrepreneurship.
?Young people who want to start a business on their own are met with corruption to get their documents ready. Aside that, the long processes they have to go through easily discourages anyone who may not be so passionate about what they want to do. These are some treatments they receive at the first point where they want to register their businesses.??, he explained.
Speaking on the ban on public sector recruitment, the economist explained that though the private sector absorbed more of the labour force, the sector is currently unable to employ the large number of graduates who come out of the tertiary institutions due to the erratic supply of energy and other economic challenges.
He therefore suggested that government creates an enabling environments for the private sector to thrive and called on the youth to be creative and be entrepreneurial.
?If the curricula used in our institutions are not being beneficial it should be changed to support entrepreneurship and creativity. Students should be encouraged to use their skills and talents. I always say that, after corruption the next threat to democracy is unemployment because a hungry man is an angry man. If this unemployment situation is not checked, people will rise up and do the very things we don?t want to see in the country?? he stressed.
With Ghana?s unemployment rate pegged at 5.2% by the Ghana Statistical Service, a ban on public sector employment and 71,189 service personnel joining the job hunt, many, including some of the personnel, have expressed worry about their fate as they enter the job market in search of employment.
By LORETTA ADJETEY

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