I insist, we have created 3m jobs -Baffour Awuah
The Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, yesterday had to affirm and re-affirm to the Appointment Committee of Parliament sitting in Accra yesterday that the Akufo-Addo-led administration created about three million jobs during his first term in office.
According to him, the number includes both jobs created in the private and public sectors. He could, however, not give the committee the breakdown on the sectors.
The Minister-designate indicated that he could not lie before the committee about the number of jobs created, hence, would make documents that support his claim available to the eminent committee, chaired by Joseph Osei-Owusu.
“I cannot come before this committee and lie, and I have indicated my readiness to supply you with the information by the close of day, and I am ever willing to do that. So I still stand by what I said, if I am giving the opportunity to update the handing over note, this will not be the figure that you will have.”
The countless number of affirmations on the three million jobs created stemmed from the fact that the Minister had in response to an earlier question, told Mr Sampson Ahi, a member of the committee, that though he does not have figures for the exact number of jobs created by the end of 2020, the last report his ministry had on job creation in September 2020, revealed that three million jobs had been created.
He then indicated to the committee that he would make a document that proves that such a numbers of jobs were created available to the committee.
However, Mr Eric Opoku, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South and a member of the committee, argued that Mr Awuah had conflicting figures on job creation within the last four years from his own handing over notes and the 2020 budget.
According to the Asunafo South legislator, the handing over notes from the ministry reported 2,740,272 jobs created in the formal sector, and not three million.
Mr Opoku also stated that the nominee had indicated in the 2020 budget that 350,000 jobs were created in the public sector, meanwhile from the same budget, the number of people on government payroll was 702,528 as against 626,781 in 2016, which was an indication that only 75,747 jobs were created in the public sector.
“You indicated that you have created three million jobs and that you have documents to back them, but on page 35 of your handing over notes you stated that “During the period, 2,740,472 jobs were created in the formal sector. Out of this figure, the Planting for Food and Jobs programme created 2,299,697 jobs.
“And in the 2020 budget, you indicated that in the public sector alone, you created 350,000 jobs, but when you look at the figures, because there are budgetary allocations to pay the people that you have employed, you realise that in 2016, the total number of people on government pay roll was 626,781. In 2020, as reported in the 2020 budget, which provides the ceiling for the entire year 702,528, indicating that over the four year period the number has increased by just 75,747, so where from the 350,000 and the 3,000,000 figures from?”
Responding to these questions, the Minister-designate, first of all, explained that “The Transitional Provisions Act actually stipulates that Handing Over Notes should be ready by middle of the election year, so if I reported a different figure in the handing over notes, it’s because it is not up to the end of the year.”
On the number of jobs created in the public sector, Mr Baffour Awuah explained that not all those who got employment were captured in the budget, because there are those who receive salary directly from the Controller, while others do not, hence the disparities in the figures.
“On the issue of public sector workers, it is not every public service worker that is paid directly by Controller. We have those that are paid directly by the controller, especially those in Education, Civil Service, Local Government and others, but there are some that are sub-vented and their records may not include what’s in the budget.”
Stating another reason for the differences in figures, the nominee said that people should not lose sight of the fact that people go on retirement, and that also affect figures reported earlier.
“When you are talking about increment, you also lose sight of the fact that the figures are not static. We have people that are retiring within the same period, so if you just use marginal increment without taking into consideration those who are leaving the system, then you may be wrong.”