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Ghana Table of Contents


National Requirements

Figure 9. Employment by Sector, 1988

Source: Based on information from Ghana, Statistical Service, Quarterly Digest of Statistics, Accra, December 1991, Table 42.

Although the Ghanaian labor force grew throughout the 1980s, the structure of employment remained relatively stable (see fig. 9). Between 1981 and 1988, the official number of workers grew by almost 100,000. Despite efforts under the ERP to stimulate private production, public-sector jobs still accounted for more than 80 percent of total employment over the decade. Employment in the public sector rose every year between 1981 and 1985 (from 175,700 to 397,100), but thereafter fell three years in a row, standing at 251,500 in 1988. By 1992 the number of public sector workers had grown to an estimated 595,000, although some 55,000 had been made redundant.

Considering the relative importance of public-sector employment, ERP policies to reduce the scope of state enterprises had a profound impact on patterns of unemployment. In the mid1980s , cutbacks at Ghana Cocoa Board (20,000 jobs), Ghana National Trading Corporation (2,000 jobs), and the shipping enterprise, the Black Star Line (1,000 jobs), contributed to nearly 30,000 job losses in the parastatal sector alone by the end of 1986. The civil service lost an estimated 15,000 jobs in the same period. In 1990 fifteen of the remaining state-owned enterprises reduced their payrolls by about 13,000 employees; no figures were available for losses resulting from the liquidation of an additional twenty-two state enterprises that year.

Although ERP policies resulted in the loss of many jobs for Ghanaians, their implementation met relatively minor resistance from organized labor. The most serious challenge came in 1986 on the issue of income rather than that of layoffs. The unions threatened action in response to the government's decision (under pressure from the IMF) to abolish leave allowances, a crucial benefit that substantially supplemented low public-sector wages. In response, the government reversed its decision and revised the 1986 budget. After that, the government stepped up taxes on allowances and, in some cases, consolidated them into wages and salaries. Meanwhile, the unemployed continued to express concern over the slow materialization of end-of-service payments. In response, the 1992 budget contained proposals for packages comprising down payments, shares in profitable state-owned enterprises, and interest on deferred payments.

Data as of November 1994