Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, says the government will continue to implement programmes that seek to enhance the skills and welfare of workers.
He said, “we are ensuring skills development that meets the demands of the Ghanaian labour market and promotes decent work.”
Mr Ofori-Atta was speaking at the launch of the training and retraining programme component of the National Unemployment Insurance Scheme (NUIS) under the Ghana Cares “Obaatanpa” Programme in Accra.
The programme aimed at preserving and upgrading the human capital and skills of the current cohort of workers, who lost their employment because of the pandemic. It is intended to facilitate their re-entry into productive employment at higher levels of performance.
The Programme will be implemented in two phases, the first phase of the Programme will cover workers in the sectors that were mostly affected by the pandemic, namely the Private Education Sector and the Tourism and Hospitality Sector.
The second phase of the Training and Retraining Programme will cover other sectors of the economy with emphasis on vocational and technical training.
The training and re-training programme is focused on skills upgrading, work ethics, productivity, and attitudinal change.
The Minister said the government’s resolve to invest in the people of Ghana, particularly the youth, had been adequately matched with the implementation of programmes that ensure strategic workforce development, including interventions to enhance employability and improve productivity.
He said even under difficult times, when the economy was facing challenges largely on account of global shocks and domestic developments, “we prioritise the Programme as we believe the medium to long term benefits are enormous for the worker output enhancement for the economy.”
Mr Ofori-Atta said an implementation Committee with membership from the Government, Organised Labour, and Employers had been constituted to see to the effective implementation of the Programme.
The Minister said Programme was developed through extensive consultations between the government and key stakeholders comprising of representatives from Ministry Finance, Ministry of Employment & Labour Relations.
Others are Organised Labour and Ghana Employers Association and other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Tourism Authority, Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Ghana National Association of Private Schools, Ghana National Council of Private Schools, and Ghana Tourism Federation.
He said the government was funding the cost of the training and retraining programme by paying the fees of workers, who enrol in the Programme.
Dr Patrick Nomo, the Chairman of NUIS and Training and Re-training Programme, said Re-Skilling, Training and Retraining was essential to building and sustaining competencies for the ever-changing labour market.
He said the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 led to massive job losses and under-employment globally and domestically, which necessitated the need for government to establish a NUIS with a training and retraining component to support workers, who involuntarily become unemployed.
He said the government, together with Social Partners, was partnering with credible service providers to roll out the first phase of the Training and Retraining Programme to eligible beneficiary workers in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector and the Private Education Sector.
Dr Nomo, who is also the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, said they had made great strides towards the implementation of the programme.
The team tasked to oversee the implementation of the programme has over the past year engaged relevant stakeholders in the two sectors and relevant course modules and all the other processes for the roll-out of the Programme have been completed.
Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, said going forward the government would expand the programme to include more sectors.
“I believe that if we are able to implement this programme successfully, unemployment will be a thing of the past,” he added.
Dr Yaw Baah, the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, commended the government and the social partners for the initiative.