It has been revealed that infrastructure, most especially bad roads, is the major challenge of most Ghanaians. This is in spite of so called ‘unprecedented’ achievement in infrastructure touted by the previous John Mahama administration.
The John Mahama administration touts itself as the government to have done so much on infrastructure and roads. At the expense of all other sectors such as employment, education, health, agriculture among others, the former government in its green book claimed to have solved almost all of the country’s infrastructure challenges.
However, a survey conducted by Afrobarometer has revealed that, for the first time since 2002, infrastructure/roads top the list of citizens’ priority problems, beating out unemployment. Six in 10 Ghanaians according to the survey (59 per cent) cite infrastructure/roads among the first three problems they want government to address. Residents in Bono East, Oti and North East regions topped the list of regions that see roads as the most pressing concern for them.
Less Concern about Jobs
Interestingly, for the first since 2002, employment was not seen as the major concern for most Ghanaians. Less than four out of 10 (39 per cent) Ghanaians see employment as a major issue. This is not surprising considering the major policies put in place by the government to curb unemployment. All major policies implemented by the government seem to have become an avenue for employment.
Within the 2018/19 academic year alone, about 8000 teachers were employed to shore up the number of teachers in the second cycle institutions due to the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy. This year, through the Youth Employment Agency, the Ghana Education Service is in the process of employing 7,730 non-teaching staff for the Free SHS. The scheme, known as the Schools Support Programme, is to replace ageing cooks, pantry hands, labourers, security assistants and other non-teaching staff of SHSs to help boost the free SHS programme. The employees will be engaged for two years in the initial stage, after which, based on available permanent job opportunities and performance, some will be absorbed permanently into the GES.
In all, the available statistics indicate that about 66,357 teaching and non-teaching staffs have been employed in the education sector alone since 2017.
Also, the Nation Builders Corp (NABCO) as at now has engaged close to 100,000 graduates who are being given different set of skills to enhance their chances of employability. Other policies such as Planting for food and Jobs (PFJ), One District, One Factory, Cocoa hand pollination programme, Youth in Afforestation programme, One District One Warehouse among others have all created employment for some people.
Currently, about 500 paramedics are undergoing training to be employed to work with the 305 ambulances that have been procured by government under the One Million dollars, One constituency project.
Education and health
According to the survey, education (38 per cent), and health (27 per cent) were also found not to be major concerns of Ghanaians. This could also be as results of the policies in the health and education sector that are currently being implemented by the government.
Year of Roads
Meanwhile, the government has declared 2020 as a ‘year of roads’. In the 2020 budget, the government has projected to spend GH¢9.3 billion, equivalent to 2.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on selected infrastructure projects especially roads across the country next year. “The projected amount is 53.5 per cent higher than the 2019 projected outturn, which was GH¢7.7 billion,” the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, announced