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Parties on Creating Jobs

August 13
18:03 2014

Creating job opportunities is an essential factor for a productive economy. All political parties have plans in place to create more job opportunities for the unemployed.

Some parties have used statistics provided by the National Employment Centre to substantiate that unemployment rates have increased.

Let’s have a look at how these parties go about creating more jobs for the unemployed.

PDP
The People’s Democratic Party would put in place the following measures to address the issue of employment generation and poverty reduction:

• Expanding the tourism industry by working with resort and tourism sector employers in partnership with training providers, develop government  supported apprenticeship programmes in services including security, food, beverages, water sports, equipment and building maintenance and repairs;
• Creating new value- added jobs in forestry by working with training providers, commercial banks including the Fiji Development bank and forestry resource owners to establish small and medium scale enterprises in Vanua Levu, Naitasiri and Serua to manufacture value- added products;
• Increasing jobs in value- added marine exports by providing incentives to domestic and international private sector enterprises for value -added, environmentally safe marine products such as seaweed, Fijian branded pearl and marine products as well as facilitate marketing, branding and market access for these products.
Moreover the party would also be re-energising small and medium enterprises through a special window of the FDB to support young adults by providing technical, financial and management assistance.
The party would also foster skills for an IT revolution by working with private sector providers and all secondary and primary schools in Fiji.

FLP
The Fiji Labour Party has incorporated a social package to address unemployment in the country and focuses on areas where more jobs would be created for the people.
In its manifesto it states that every able- bodied man and woman should enjoy work. Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry said: “The problems of poverty, housing and unemployment are inter-related and requires an integrated approach to address them.”
• Meanwhile the party would set a National Service Scheme involving community service and the teaching of vocational skills to young people who are unable to find employment. Recruits will be paid living allowances.
• The party will restore the retirement age to 60 because the party feels that most people in this age group are experienced workers who can contribute meaningfully to the national economy.
• Additionally, the party will monitor the high influx of foreign workers because the party feels that more foreigners are taking jobs away from local people. Finally it will establish special funds to promote self- employment, including setting up small scale cottage industries in rural areas.

NFP
The National Federation Party’s leader, Dr Biman Prasad, in an earlier interview, had claimed that the unemployment rate represented a failure of the economy.
He claimed that the unemployment rate was high because of weak economic growth, poor quality of growth and slow recovery after the 2006 coup were major hindrance in more job creation. In order to create more jobs, some of the policies outlined in their manifesto are:
• Reposition economy towards higher and sustained economic growth;
• Economic reforms and macroeconomic management that will increase productivity and create decent jobs;
• Trade reforms, labour market policies, national  policies and tax reforms to provide impetus to productivity growth;
• Create policies that address particular issues in regions such as the Northern Division and maritime regions;
• Create policies towards growth that is concentrated in employment intensive sectors.

SODELPA
Dr Mere Samisoni, a nominated candidate of SODELPA, in an earlier interview, had said: “Fiji’s economy cannot grow in a stable and sustainable manner to address the unemployment of youth and alleviate poverty, if the environment, context and economy are based on uncertainties that are not managed.”
The party’s manifesto states that:
• It would achieve growth from a well- managed and more open economy, founded on good governance and sound policies, bolstered by confidence among investors, employers and workers;
• Priority to provide employment and livelihood for the many thousands of people without income;
• Create jobs through raising investment and diversification in local markets and for exports.
Their priority areas would be tourism, construction, environmentally responsible mining/mineral exploration, forestry and agri-business including coconut products and floriculture.
It would also be prioritising ICT [information, telecommunication and communication] technology, call centres, garments, ship building and repairs, sustainable fisheries, sustainable use of other marine resources, film making, handicrafts, fashion and designing, traditional and contemporary arts, encouragement of numerous forms of service industries such as retirement villages and small businesses.

FUFP
The Fiji United Freedom Party, as per their model manifesto which was presented on Monday, proposed three structures.
Party president, Jagath Karunaratne, said that under the United Supreme Council where all traditional leaders and resource owners come together and pledge their resources to a corporate structure combining with the United Business Council.
• The supreme council and the business council will then form the Viti Holdings Limited which would ensure that the resources available were best utilised with equal share to the resource owner and the investor,
• Apart from the resources any small – to -medium business operator can join the VHL. It can even be a peanut seller who wants to make a daily income. The United Business Council and United Supreme Council will allocate certain money via VHL to promote small- to -medium businesses. If anyone wants to enter into businesses either via the council’s setup or as individuals, they can approach the councils or the VHL to become shareholders or profit sharing partners;
• Similarly even students can become part time workers of VHL in exchange for scholarships to continue with their higher education.

One Fiji Party
One Fiji would be outlining their policies and their plans on Fridayduring the launch of their manifesto.

FijiFirst
The Bainimarama Government has stressed that growing the economy and increasing investment is a core strategy in growing employment. It has pointed to the current increasing economic growth and investment as an example of this. It was also said education for all is also one of its other key strategies.
Some of the Government’s strategies for this year have included the development of small business initiatives in the Northern Division with an allocation of $1.5million as announced in the 2014 Budget.
It also allocated $1 million under the Integrated Human Resource Programme to assist rural communities in establishing income-generating projects and encouraging sustainable livelihood.  The agricultural marketing authority was given $2million to to assist farmers and producers with distribution and marketing of farm produce to both local and overseas markets.
One million dollars was allocated in the 2014 Budget under the Rural and Outer Islands Agricultural Development Programme to strengthen commercial agriculture development in rural areas.
The Government also increased the funding allocation for self-help projects to $1.5 million.

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

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