No evidence to support Bawumia’s claim on Gov’t creating 2.1 million jobs

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on February 7, 2023, said that in spite of the global economic crisis, the government had created 2.1 million jobs between 2017 and 2022.

The vice president made the claim when he unveiled his vision for the country as part of his campaign for election 2024, citing figures from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

Breaking down the figures, he said SSNIT’s data showed that while the public sector had recruited 1.2 million people, the private sector had created 975,000 jobs.

It is not the first time the Vice-President has made this claim. He first touched on the issue in April 2023 when he addressed New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters in the Eastern Region.

“During the NDC [National Democratic Congress] administration, there were no jobs, they created unemployment, they were not creating jobs, we had the graduate unemployed association.  They were creating unemployment, but I have been looking at the data lately, and NPP we have created 2.1 million jobs.”

He asserted that no government since independence had created more jobs than the Akufo-Addo government and dared the government’s critics to challenge him for the evidence.

Eight months later when he launched the YouStart project, an intervention to promote youth entrepreneurship on December 1, 2023, he repeated the same rhetoric, saying the government had created over two million jobs in the last seven years but this time he compared the government’s record with others in the Fourth Republic.

“What is remarkable is that, notwithstanding the global economic challenges, major global economic disruptions that have taken place with regard to COVID-19 that many of you have talked about and its implications on businesses as well as the Russia-Ukraine war, notwithstanding these global challenges, our government over the last seven years has created 2.1 million jobs. This is the highest number of jobs created by any government since the Fourth Republic,” he explained.

The Vice President repeated this claim on December 11, 2023, when he spoke at the launch of the Youth Employment Agency’s (YEA) latest job and business support initiative, the Business and Employment Assistance Programme at Sunyani in the Bono Region.

Inconsistencies in the government’s data on employment

The 2.1 million jobs Dr Bawumia has been citing are inconsistent with the employment statistics previously released by ministers in the Akufo-Addo administration.

On November 15, 2023, about two months before the Vice-President made his last claim on the country’s employment figures, former Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta told legislators during a budget presentation that the government had created 2.3 million jobs.

The employment minister, Ignatius Baffuor Awuah, in September 2022 made these inconsistencies worse when he indicated that the government had created 5.3 million jobs since assuming office in 2017.

He said these figures were gathered from various ministries, departments and agencies, showing that the government had created “significant direct and indirect jobs.”

What SSNIT’s figures say

To verify the Vice-President’s claim, Fact-Check Ghana made a Right to Information request to SSNIT on February 12, 2024. Below is the response from SSNIT.

After tallying the figures of new contributors [both private and public] from 2017 to 2022 from the Table above, the total came to 1,542,592 new contributors. This data is 632,408 shy of the number of contributors the Vice President said had enrolled on SSNIT as new public and private contributors.

SSNIT in its response to Fact-Check Ghana’s RTI request had indicated that its 2022 figures provided had not yet been certified and published.

However, the average number of new contributors [both private and public] in the last seven years has consistently been less than 300,000, the average number needed to achieve 2.1 million. For the government’s claim of creating 2.1 million jobs to be true, new SSNIT contributors for 2022 alone would have to be 557,408, which is more than the addition of the numbers recorded in the two previous years (2020 and 2021).

Therefore, Dr Bawumia’s claim that the government has created 2.1 million jobs per SSNIT data is not supported by the data from SSNIT.

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