Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Minister of Finance has urged the 2021 graduating class of the University of Professional Studies-Accra (UPSA) to explore entrepreneurship avenues. This, he disclosed is due to lack of capacity to employ within the public sector.
As stated by the Finance Minister, government of Ghana is committed to creating an enabling environment, establishing micro-stability, and doing everything possible to ensure citizens have the right skillset needed to succeed.
“The future for you in regard to jobs is the most important thing for you at this stage, and we have gone through a period when most people look for a job from government or state institutions; but that payroll is full.
“I can tell you that we are spending about 60 percent of our revenue on remunerating some 650,000 people, and that is not sustainable.”Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta
Mr. Ofori-Atta stated that entrepreneurship, skillset, and credit are the important things needed in the mix to ensure sustainability for the youth. This, he disclosed, would offer them an opportunity to create their own path to wealth.
According to the minister, education is a ladder to social mobility as well as economic and social prosperity, offering beneficiaries the opportunity to help society.
He added that it is important for the graduates to acknowledge the privilege of accessing four years of tertiary education and do their best to impact society through the transformation and renewal of their minds.
The need for 21st century skills
On his part, Dr. K.K. Sarpong, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), during his address at the graduation ceremony emphasised that it is important for the graduates to acquire 21st-century skills and core competencies which will enhance their employability and advancement in career.
Mr. Sarpong, iterated that, currently, industries search for graduates who have more than a university degree, as they consider life-skills such as creativity, innovation, critical-thinking, collaboration, teamwork, communication, empathy and digital literacy, among others, as essential skills for effective individual performance.
“These life-skills underpin the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that aids in dealing effectively with the challenges of everyday life, particularly work. It is therefore important that graduates acquire life-skills as mentioned.”Dr. K.K. Sarpong
GNPC’s CEO further highlighted digital literacy and indicated that this is an era of digitisation wherein automation, artificial intelligence and the use of software has dominated the delivery of accounting and financial services, hence the need for them to equip themselves with these skills to stay relevant on the job market.
Dr. Sarpong stated that outsourcing of functions such as procurement, payroll, taxation, pensions and benefits, recruitment and training has become a new normal under COVID-19, hence the need for them to respond swiftly to that trend.
“I encourage you to set up your own firms to tap into the growing outsourced financial and business services. Be entrepreneurial, for your training here has given you what it takes to do that.”Dr. K.K. Sarpong
On his part, Prof. Abednego F.O. Amartey, the Vice Chancellor of UPSA, entreated the graduates to be worthy ambassadors of the university, through the exhibition of values imbibed in them over the years of their study.