Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia Wednesday said the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government cumulatively increased electricity tariffs by 166% between 2013 and 2016.
Comparatively, he said, the current government under President Akufo-Addo’s administration within two years (from 2017 to date), had averagely decreased electricity tariffs cumulatively by five per cent.
Vice President Bawumia said this at the launch of the Youth Employment Agency Job Centre in Accra, in response to some criticisms from the camp of the opposition National Democratic Congress concerning the 5.6 per cent electricity tariffs increase, which took effect from Tuesday, October 1.
Dr Bawumia, while giving a background to the electricity tariffs increments, said the NDC administration in 2010 cumulatively increased electricity tariffs by 89%, 10% in 2011, 78% in 2013, 38.3% in 2014 and 59.2% in 2015.
He added that between 2013 and 2016, the Mahama-led government cumulatively increased electricity tariffs by 166%, while the Akufo-Addo’s government increased electricity tariffs by 11% per cent in July this year, and 5.6% on October 1, respectively.
“So it is still boot for chalewote. Ladies and gentlemen, we have to keep with the facts and not be misled,” Dr Bawumia pointed out.
He said if any government wants to reduce the burden on businesses, it was prudent to keep electricity tariffs at reasonable limit.
Dr Bawumia launched the Youth Employment Agency’s (YEA) Job Centre and three other supporting initiatives, to facilitate sustainable employment for both skilled and unskilled Ghanaian youth between the ages of 15 and 35 years.
The three other initiatives are Artisan Directory, Work Abroad Programme and Agriculture-based Flagship Project.
Vice President Bawumia explained that the Job Centre is an online platform (www.yeajobcentre.gov.gh), which would connect job seekers to potential employment providers in the public and private sectors of the economy.
The Centre, he said, would also assist job seekers with career counselling and training services, curriculum vitae preparation, Agency placement and a walk-in hub that will provide other auxiliary services to job seekers.
The event brought together Ministers of State, Chief Executive Officers of State- Owned Enterprises, Development Partners, the Diplomatic Community, YEA Youth Ambassadors, captains of industry and young entrepreneurs across the country.
Explaining the Artisan Directory, Dr Bawumia said it would train and provide start-up tools and capital to artisans, including beauticians, plumbers, masons, carpenters and fashion designers, and link them up to the market, in order to sell their crafts and services.
The Agriculture-based Flagship Project, the Vice President said, took cognizance of the natural endowment and comparative advantage of the various regions and districts, and government would support the youth to venture into maize farms, fish farming, smock village, cassava and plantain production, all geared towards ensuring sustainable jobs and building a resilient economy.
He said 10,000 youth would be engaged in the first year of the programme and commended the Board and Management of the YEA for establishing a maize plantation at Wenchi in the Bono Region and a fish farm in the Volta Region towards practicalising the vision.
The fourth programme “Work Abroad Programme,” Dr Bawumia explained, would enable the nation to export young professionals, including nurses, teachers and other expertise abroad, which would earn Ghana additional foreign exchange, as well as ensure cross exchange of ideas and technology.
Vice President Bawumia outlined some innovative digital technologies rolled out by government to promote conducive business environment, including the paperless ports system, merging of the four business application forms, digital property addressing system and the ongoing national identification system (Ghana Card).
He noted that 1.2 million students had benefitted from the Free Senior High School Policy, while 100,000 graduates had been recruited under the Nation Builders Corps.
He added that government had restored nursing and teacher trainee allowances, abolished 17 nuisance taxes in 2017 and had so far, employed 350,000 people into the public sector since assuming office.
He urged corporate entities in the country to support the YEA’s initiatives to succeed in order to reduce youth unemployment to the barest minimum and stimulate economic growth.