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May 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM
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The Fiji government through the National Employment Center (NEC) legislation is hoping to ensure that the unemployment rate is reduced from 8.6 percent (2007 census) to 4.2 percent by 2012.

Speaking during Ministry of Labour meeting on the NEC, Labour Minister Filipe Bole said the legislation will ensure that employment is created for the increasing number of unemployed.

“This means in terms of numbers, we need to bring down unemployment from 28,121 to 13,734 based on the 326,988 economically active labor force figure of 2007,” he said.

Bole told FijiLive the NEC was formulated last year and he hopes to launch it next month as by then, they would have the funds available to train those who are unemployed.

“We have seven points in Fiji where we are giving out forms to those who are unemployed and the purpose is to identify the unemployed and give then training,” he said.

The applicants will go through training where they can discover themselves before ending up in job offers and opportunities.

He stated the Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji (TPAF) and the Fiji National University would be good partners in allowing the training to progress.

Bole also revealed government has budgeted $5 million for this project but they are hopeful of increasing this amount to $10 million before the program is launched.

“We already have registered 2000 unemployed people in three weeks that we started with the registration.”

“In my view, the unemployment situation is such that we do not have the time to argue whether or not government should enter into large scale-job-creation activities,” he said.

He said all the arguments had been presented and Fiji would not be the first to undertake such a program.

“Some of the wealthiest Asian countries today had traveled this road to their current position of prosperity.”

The various forms of employment creation services that will be looked at will be volunteerism, self-employment, formal employment in existing industries along with overseas employment.

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