MP for Okaikoi South and Communications Director of the NPP, Nana Akomea, has told Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to put to rest the matter of 1.6 million jobs created in the first year of the Mills administration, by accepting that he committed an error.
The figure, originally given by Mr. Ablakwa, was first published in a Daily Graphic edition in March 2010.
But the claim, which has variously been defended by some government officials, was dealt a heavy blow on Thursday by the Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, Hon. Enoch Teye Mensah, who told Parliament that he was unaware of the 1.6 million jobs.
The Minister, who was in Parliament to answer questions on unemployment rate in the country, asked not to be drawn into what he called the 1.6m jobs “minefield”. “I don’t know about 1.6 million jobs” he said, as more pressure mounted from curious opposition voices like those of Hon Albert Kan Dapaah and Hon Mathew Opoku Prempeh.
He also told the House his Ministry has no current statistics on the unemployment situation in Ghana.
Hon. Nana Akomea believes the debate must be put to rest by a simple acceptance by Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa that he erred in putting out the figure.
“There are some things that you do not need to push. When Sammy told the whole world that he had discovered 1.6million jobs, we told him clearly that it was not possible. And I am sure senior members of the NDC pointed out to him that it was not possible. And I am sure Sammy himself has come to accept that position, because when two three months down the line, when was compiling the top fifty achievements of Government, the 1.6 million jobs did not find a place in the top fifty achievements. So it’s a matter that Sammy should lay to rest. We all make mistakes once a while and this is clearly something that he cannot support” he noted.
“And this is not the first time E.T. Mensah the Minister for Employment has come to Parliament to deny knowledge of the 1.6 million jobs. The first time he came, he said he didn’t know anything about it. This is the second time that he is saying he didn’t know anything about it. So it is not a matter of him requiring notice because he said that eight months earlier. So I take it that it’s a mistake. Sammy was trying to whip up some good news for Government but its not exactly good news so he should just let it rest” he advised.
He said there was no need for Government to rush in coming out with statistics on employment since that would be known when the full results of the recent Population and Housing Census is released.
“We don’t have to continue to pursue this 1.6 million jobs debate because it distracts us.
But Mr. Ablakwa has told Citi News he will readily admit an error in the figures put out, when his sources tell him the figures are incorrect.
“I will be in a hurry to concede as soon as it comes to my notice I made a mistake or if the facts prove otherwise. So far, the breakdown we gave has not been interrogated so I am not in the position to dismiss or doubt what I have been told by these senior officials who have been in the public services for all these years and decades. So I think that we should just spend some time and interrogate what has been given to me to put out and if it emerges that mistakes were made, I will be the first to admit” he noted.
Hon. Akomea has also expressed concern about the Statistical Service’s inability to provide regular data on the unemployment situation in the country.
He urged Government to make funds available to the Statistical Service to make employment survey a central part of their work, to come out with the needed statistics on yearly basis.