Afrobarometer survey shows Ghanaians are content with government’s handling of chief priorities Featured

By Kwasi Frimpong November 22, 2019 30984 24898 comments

The outcome of the latest survey by Afrobarometer suggests that the Akufo-Addo government has set its priorities right with its plan to engage in massive infrastructural development, and especially roads. It also signals that Ghanaians welcome the implementation of a raft of policies which have created thousands of jobs for young Ghanaians.

Meanwhile, the government has declared 2020 the “Year of Roads” and is poised to launch a far-reaching drive to fix critical road infrastructure. The country’s highways and byways have been a seemingly bottomless source of complaint among ordinary Ghanaians.

Potholes and craters

In the 2020 Budget the government projects that over the coming year it will spend GHC9.3 billion, equivalent to 2.3 per cent of Ghana’s gross domestic product, on selected infrastructure projects across the country, and especially roads.

“The projected amount is 53.5 per cent higher than the 2019 projected outturn, which was GHC7.7bn,” the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced.

According the new Afrobarometer survey, infrastructure is the main challenge that Ghanaians cite most frequently.

This is despite the Mahama government’s much-touted “unprecedented achievements” in providing infrastructure.

The Mahama government presents itself as one that fixed almost all critical roads in Ghana. But three years after it left office, people in almost every corner of the country are crying for attention to and work on their roads, many of which are in a deplorable state.

Top problem

So it is no surprise to discover from the latest Afrobarometer survey that, for the first time since 2002, infrastructure (roads in particular) tops the list of citizens’ priority problems, beating even unemployment.

Six out of every ten Ghanaians covered by the survey cite infrastructure/roads among the first three problems they want their government to address.

Residents of Bono East, Oti and the North-East top the list of regions which see roads as their most pressing concern, the report says.

Unemployment declines

Instructively, for the first since 2002, employment does not present itself as most Ghanaians’ main concern. Fewer than four out of ten Ghanaians (39 per cent) now see employment as a major issue.

Many might not see this as a big surprise, considering the impact of various official policies to curb joblessness. All the flagship policies that the government is implementing seem to have become avenues for job creation.

In the 2018/19 academic year alone, roughly 8,000 teachers were employed to shore up the number of staff in Ghana’s second-cycle institutions following the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy.

This year the Ghana Education Service is in the process of hiring 7,730 non-teaching staff through the Youth Employment Agency for the Free SHS programme. The Schools Support Programme, as it is known, will replace ageing cooks, pantry workers, labourers, security assistants and other non-teaching staff in senior high schools to help boost the operation of Free SHS.

The beneficiaries will be engaged initially for two years, after which, based on performance and the permanent job opportunities available, some will be absorbed permanently into the Ghana Education Service.

Official statistics show that 66,357 teaching and non-teaching staff have been employed in education alone since 2017. So far the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) has engaged close to 100,000 graduates who are being trained in new skills sets to enhance their job prospects.

Other schemes, such as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), One District, One Factory, the Cocoa Hand Pollination Programme and Youth in Afforestation, have created employment for thousands of hitherto jobless young people.
Roughly 500 paramedics are undergoing training to work with the 305 ambulances that have been procured by the government under the “One Million Dollars, One Constituency” project.

Education and health

The survey also finds that education (cited by 38 per cent) and health (27 per cent) are not major concerns of Ghanaians at the moment.

This may be understood to mean that the government’s health and education policies are yielding positive outcomes.

 

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Last modified on Friday, 22 November 2019 15:15

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