Only two percent of the 250, 000 of Ghanaians who enter the Ghanaian labour market annually, are absorbed in the formal sector, Mr Franklin Owusu Karikari, the Director for Business Support of the National Entrepreneurship Innovative Plan (NEIP) has said.
He said the remaining 98 percent relied on the informal sector for jobs, saying, last year alone, the country produced more than 90,000 graduates and most of them remained unemployed.
Mr Karikari commended the government for the Nation Builders Corps (NaBco) programme, which he said engaged 100,000 out of the 160,000 graduates who applied for the programme last year.
He was speaking at entrepreneurship awareness seminar held in Sunyani, and organized by the Sunyani Technical University (STU) with support from the Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL).
It was on the theme: “Changing Minds, from job seekers to job Creators: Adopting Entrepreneurship as a Career Option”.
Mr Karikari expressed discomfort with the worsening unemployment situation in the country and called on graduates to develop interest and engage in entrepreneurship to fetch jobs for themselves.
“Your certificates alone are not enough to grant you jobs”, he told the students and challenged them to form groups and do extra curricula activities as well as develop business modules and ideas.
He indicated that last year, the NEIP trained about 70,000 unemployed graduates, but was able to support about 2,000 of them to establish and expand their businesses.
Mr Karikari said a good business plan and idea would enable the students and entrepreneurs to seek support from the NEIP, and advised them to write proposals and also check for opportunities online to establish themselves.
He said good packaging and branding would fetch them both local and international markets for their products.
Mr Karikari said waste management, oil and gas, agri-business, ICT, fashion, tourism, and microfinance provided enormous business opportunities, and advised the unemployed graduates to explore into those sectors.
Dr Justice Solomon Korantwi-Barimah, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the STU, noted that youth unemployment could be reduced if students considered opting for entrepreneurship programmes.
He said the University through its Business Entrepreneurship Development and External Funding Unit (BEDEFU) and with support from GOIL, had initiated the setting up of a Business and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (BEDC), its entrepreneurship hub.
“The self-initiated effort, is aimed at supporting our students, business and other innovators, to recognize opportunities, develop, launch and commercialize ideas and motivate them to bring out their entrepreneurship skills.”
It will also strive to narrow the gap between industry expectations and students capabilities by focusing and guiding students to go into self-employment and thereby, create “an employer culture”.
Dr Korantwi-Barimah thanked GOIL for the support to the University and advised the students to take advantage of the Centre, which would become a catalyst in facilitating emergence of competent first generation entrepreneurs.
This can be achieved through the transitioning of existing Small and Medium Enterprises into growth oriented enterprises through skills development training, awareness creation programmes, research and institution building.