BY BENJAMIN TANDOH
AS PART of efforts to fix the canker of unemployment in the country, the government will soon roll out the Nation Builders Corps, which will focus on addressing the problem of graduate unemployment.
The programme, which will be a major government initiative, is expected to hire 100,000 graduates in 2018 who would be posted to various districts across the country.
The announcement came days after the Minority in Parliament had predicted doom and insisted that the 2018 budget would rather impose hardships on Ghanaians.
The positive implication is that every district is expected to provide jobs for 462 graduates under the Nation Builders Corps programme.
Presenting the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government in Parliament yesterday, the Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, said the government is committed to pursuing an agenda which will create jobs to improve the economy.
“The job of the Akufo-Addo government is to assist the people with the tools and the environment to go out there to work and earn a decent living and improve their lives. We plan on providing opportunity for as many Ghanaians as possible to initiate projects on their own.
“The government is committed to pursuing an agenda of inclusive growth by implementing strategies, policies, and programmes to grow and promote the creation of good jobs at a much faster pace than ever before,” the Minister said.
According to the Minister, the objective of the programme would be to provide employment to unemployed graduates, improve skills and employability, improve public service delivery, as well as to improve government revenue mobilisation.
“Under the Nation Builders Corps programme, graduates will be trained and equipped with the necessary work tools and deployed around the country to be engaged,” he said.
13% utility bills reduction
Beginning January 2018, electricity tariff for residential consumption will be reduced by 13%, the minister further disclosed.
The minister stated that the government had reviewed the tariff setting methodology and cost structure of power production and proposed the reduction to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.
“On the basis of these interventions, if government recommendations to PURC are accepted, consumers will be expected to benefit from reductions in electricity tariffs,” he said.
The reductions in electricity tariff as contained in the 2018 budget are Residential – Up to 13%, Non-Residential – 13%, Special Load Tariff- Low Voltage – 13% ,Special Load Tariff -Medium Voltage – 11%, Special Load Tariff -High Volta ge– 14%, High Voltage Mines – 21%.
In order to ensure infrastructural development, the government is set to introduce the Akufo-Addo Programme for Economic Transformation to accelerate investment in all sectors of the economy.
In his address, Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that the programme “will modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and increase profitability for our farmers.”
According to him, there would be significant investments in the road and rail sectors of the economy under the programme, which, he explained, would facilitate trade and the movement of goods and people in the country.
He added that the government will enhance the role of the private sector in the provision of infrastructure through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), saying, “a new PPP bill has been prepared and submitted to Cabinet for approval and once passed by Parliament, it will be followed by the relevant regulations.”