Parents and all relevant stakeholders have been urged to collaborate with the government to support the fight against child labour, Mr Peter Antwi, Assistant Director 1, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations has said.
According to him, it was imperative to come together as stakeholders to support the children, through schooling, skill training and help them get knowledge so that they can help in the development of the country, rather than being exploited for money at a very young age.
He explained that, as much as parents own the children, the government also has authority over the children and therefore it was important that both parties joined hands to support their welfare.
He made the call when he spoke to Kwaku Aboagye Apenteng on Freedom Radio’s ‘Yen Man’ show as part of the celebration of Child Labour day.
Explaining further he noted that, issues relating to child labour does not mean that children should not work, however children should not be used for hard work, do jobs above their strength.
The Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) provides for the rights of the child and covers issues of parental duties and responsibilities, maintenance, adoption and fosterage; it protects children from exploitative labour and child marriage and stipulates responsibilities for care and protection of children.
‘’If we cannot develop our human resources, then the very natural resources available to us as a country cannot be developed therefore foreigners will come and develop them for us ‘’ he stated.
Mr Antwi said since 2000, Government has been supporting schools by subsidising part of the school fees and this has transcended to making senior high school free, however, the collaborative effort from individuals, groups, corporate organisations will complement such effort.
Indicating that there are few challenges however, if all stakeholders are to support the government in giving the needed direction, then more burden will be lifted on the parents so that the children will have access to go to school and acquire knowledge.
He said children are the future, but if they don’t go to school, learn any skilled work and just roam on the streets and be used for hard labour ‘’We will regret as a nation going forward’ he indicated.
He cautioned parents and people involved in the act to desist because Child labour offenders can be fined a minimum of 1000 penalty units and up to about 2500 penalty units if found guilty.
Story by Kwame Akoto/ freedomradiogh.com