Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen has asked the private sector to help government in solving the country’s troubling unemployment challenge – warning that the country is sitting on a time-bomb.
According to the 2021 population and housing census, Ghana’s unemployment rate almost tripled in little more than a decade. More than 1.55 million people, or 13.4 percent of the country’s economically active population, are out of work per the population and housing census. The last census in 2010 recorded an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent.
Speaking at the national launch of Business Resources Centres (BRCs) – one-stop shops in various districts across the country – designed to provide business development services to MSMEs, the trade minister said: “Unless we find a structured solution to deal with unemployment, we will have a national security challenge on our hands”.
Urging the private sector to provide solutions needed for creating jobs in the country, Mr. Kyerematen observed that: “Public sector employment cannot be the solution to this very important and critical challenge of ours. At best, the public sector in Ghana can employ not more than 700,000 people; so, we need to convince ourselves that we have to look elsewhere if we want to deal with unemployment”.
He added: “Already, the evidence is clear…80 percent of employment generated in this country comes from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). So, all we need is to do more and provide more support for the MSME sector”.
BRCs key to Ghana’s industrialization
Shifting his focus to the BRCs which were launched nationwide last Monday, Mr. Kyerematen stated that their establishment will revolutionise the country’s MSME sector by building the capacity of enterprises to lead government’s industrialisation transformation agenda.
The BRCs, according to him, will offer expansive support to government’s One District, One Factory business promoters, investing in manufacturing enterprises of districts and municipalities across the country under the initiative.
“The BRCs seek to expand access to a comprehensive range of business development services, professional consulting services, and critical regulatory support services to every district for the benefit of all other MSMEs.
“I believe that some of you who have travelled to different parts of the country might have come across the magnificent, functionally-designed buildings with the inscription ‘Business Resource Centre’. The remarkable progress made over the past 18 months with the establishment of BRCs demonstrate the immense potential they offer to the business community in Ghana,” he stated.
The newly established BRCs will be operated and managed under a franchise arrangement, with Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) as the franchisor and private sector operators as franchisees.
“In preparation for this, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has supported the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) and GEA to develop franchise models, standard operating procedures and systems for management and operations of BRCs,” said Mr. Kyerematen.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the BRCs’ importance cannot be overemphasised – adding that without support from the private and public sectors, “we cannot grow the Ghanaian economy”.