The National, Wednesday October 9th, 2013
By FREDDY MOU
YOUTH employment is an acute problem in Papua New Guinea, requiring active labour marketing policies around education and training to stimulate economic growth, Mark Maipakai says.
Labour and Industry Minister Maipakai said that when he opened the National Youth Commission workshop in Port Moresby yesterday.
Maipakai said he would facilitate the necessary processes at the top level of decision-making to ensure youths were given necessary support in finding meaning in life, using their energy and ability for productive purposes and living a decent life away from poverty and destitution.
“We have an active labour force in young people and that asset needs to be utilised for maximum benefit.”
By developing a strategic partnership framework, we are able to tackle the issue of youth employment.
A report recently commissioned by the International Labour Organisation says Papua New Guinea had plenty of natural resources that could provide greater benefits in terms of economic developments in employment, human resource and trade.
However, socioeconomic and political challenges remain – including over-reliance on extractive industries, relative under-investments, poor infrastructure, law and order problems and lack of access to capital for small firms and informal businesses to start up.
Maipakai said the government was serious about employment issues and planned to use the proceeds of the rapidly expanding extractive sector to promote wider economic growth and social inclusion through the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“Youth, like gender and other cross-cutting issues, need a concerted effort by all stakeholders. We can no longer send 80% of young people leaving schools back to villages or to the streets.
“It is a national disgrace and the cause of all the law and order problems we currently face.
“We need to assist them by creating an environment conducive for young people to find something to do that is meaningful, a source of income and improvement to the lifestyle they live,” Maipakai said.
He assured the commission he would push for the initiative until they reached a final intended outcome.