The surest way to create job opportunities for the large number of unemployed youth in the country is to formalise the informal sector of the economy, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, has said.
According to the Employment Minister, the public sector and the formalised private sector combined could only employ about two million people, and this was woefully inadequate, compared to the number of people who graduate from school on annual basis.
To this end, he said government was working sturdily through a number of interventions, not only to reform the economy, but also to formalise the private sector to anchor the development of the country.
"The World Bank and other stakeholders have praised government for the measures being taken to strengthen the economy, and we will continue to take more prudent fiscal management measures to strengthen the financial sector, and make Ghana competitive," he emphasised.
Mr Baffour Awuah who was speaking at the official launch of the Ghana Online Mall, said one of the measures being adopted to transform the economy was the digital transformation agenda being religiously pursued by the government.
He said the introduction of the National Identification Card, the National Digital Addressing System and the introduction of the Paperless Port Clearing System, were all geared towards financial inclusion.
"With the transformative reforms at the Registrar General's Department, an entrepreneur with access to the internet, anywhere in the country could go online and register his or her business and receive the electronic certificate of incorporation, and an electronic commencement certificate within a day or two," he said.
The minister explained that, over the last one year, the Ministry of Business Development, through the Presidential Business Support Programme (PBSP), had provided advisory services to more than 7,000 businesses with 1,350 of them receiving capital support.
He noted that the launch of the Ghana Online Mall platform would provide immense support for start-ups, micro, small and medium-scale businesses in the country, and revamp the marketing opportunities for the private sector.
The Minister for Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal said government was committed to creating a productive and knowledge-based economy, however, that could only be done through empowering people strategically with skills and confidence to compete.
He said it was important for young entrepreneurs to develop certain attributes that would enable the country to develop, stressing that "once you go online you have gone global and you are competing with not only Ghanaian products and services, but with others from across the globe and to compete in the global value chain, your products must be very competitive."
Dr Awal said it was one of the reason for which the project was being launched and Ghanaians must begin to be disciplined, if they were to accrue benefits from the new online mall.
He said it was expected that about 500,000 businesses would be on the platform in one year's time, adding that, "as we implement our industrialisation agenda with emphasis on value addition to our abundant raw materials, the Online Mall will offer our MSMEs the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the larger African market."