Contrary to the view of the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), now the ruling government, that the past administration was insensitive by freezing public sector employment, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has disclosed that government does not have the capacity to employ more public servants.
According to him, the sector was full and government might even be forced to lay off some workers if the need arises.
Speaking at the 2017 Ghana Economic Forum in Accra yesterday, Mr. Osafo-Maafo said “the public sector is full in terms of employment [and] we can’t employ anybody in the public sector.”
The NPP heavily criticised the then Mahama government for freezing recruitment into the public sector accusing them of covering up with the 3-year International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who conceded that Ghana’s economy was currently in a mess, stressed that the public service was “full” and “perhaps we may have to even lay some [workers] off.”
The senior minister also said Ghana currently has 20 public and 75 private universities and that it will be very difficult to employ students from the tertiary institutions, stating that this situation could be averted “if the private sector grows, if the private sector expands, if the private sector becomes prosperous.”
He further urged industry leaders and the business community to partner government to establish tertiary institutions with state-of-the-art laboratories to enable them train more researches and engineers for the country, adding that “if we do not get our minds set into this direction, we are heading for trouble as a country.”
The two-day event, which will end today (Tuesday, August 8, 2017), is on the theme: “Building a Ghanaian owned economy, 60 years after independence.” Mr. Osafo-Maafo at the event highlighted four areas he said government was keen in developing to boost the Ghanaian economy.
These, he mentioned, include improving Ghana’s micro economic stability, massive infrastructure development, accelerated industrial development and agriculture transformation.
“These four thematic areas should be able to change the complete face of our economy and I’m sure with your support – captains of industry, the banks, we should be able to accomplish this as a cooperative effort for the sake of Ghana. Let us think about future generations. This generation should lay forever a foundation that will make Ghana a centre of industry in West Africa,” he urged.
He said Ghana could achieve these four strategies by domesticating its production and taking hold of other economies within the West African sub-region.
“What are we doing to domesticate that production? Our location even in West Africa is even central; all these should speak to us. Let us resolve to get the economy resolved once and for all. Let us remove this tag of irreversibility on our head that Ghana will do well for some time and later we reverse to the bottom then we climb again to the top that cannot do. Once we set on motion and moving we should make it impossible for any government to reverse that motion.
And that is why we are looking at the fiscal responsibility law, so you can’t come and run the deficit anyhow. There should be a law restricting you,” he added.