Promote investments, create job options

Editorial

UNEMPLOYMENT is considered to be one of the prime social evils that is affecting our lives today.
Its economic impact is not as important as its social impact.
Most people in society today depend upon jobs to earn their living.
Therefore, any situation which negatively affects the jobs of people will affect the fabric of the entire society.
And this is one issue that should be high on the agenda of the Government to eradicate.
According to the 2019 Papua New Guinea economic survey, employment in the non-resource sector has now declined for five years in a row: ever since construction at the PNG LNG concluded in 2013.
Employment in the resource sector has continued to increase steadily and grew by five per cent in 2018, driven by the additional labour required to assist with recovery in production.
However, resource sector employment makes up only about 10 per cent of total formal sector employment, and overall formal sector employment is clearly on a downward path.
And rightly so employment is just following the trend set by the tight economic conditions.
In PNG, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.
According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (Oecd), unemployed people are those who report that they are without work, that they are available for work and that they have taken active steps to find work over a period of them.
When unemployment is high, some people become discouraged and stop looking for work; they are then excluded from the labour force.
This implies that the unemployment rate may fall, or stop rising, even though there has been no underlying improvement in the labour market.
For PNG, the Government can only help eradicate this epidemic through promoting investment in the private sector.
Jobs are created when there is investment in the country.
The focus on jobs is obviously vital.
However, higher economic growth alone will not solve the jobs problem.
Jobs can be created when growth comes from the transition of labour from informal sectors like agriculture to the more formal manufacturing and service sectors.
Such extensive growth, however, runs the risk of stagnation once the available stock of informal labour is exhausted – as some Southeast Asian countries found out the hard way in the late 1990s.
On the other hand, growth can come about without any substantial job-creation in the formal sectors of the economy, but through improvements in productivity.
They say opening up to genuine competition and private investment in various fields would increase opportunities, reliability and cut some costs.
To make PNG more competitive and attractive for investors (including smallholders) requires improving roads and other infrastructure and utilities, affordable telecommunication access, ports and shipping services, seriously addressing crime, corruption and excessive red-tape and public sector inefficiency and boosting literacy, numeracy and technical, vocational and professional training.
The Government should address issues on law and order, social and make policies attractive in order to lure investors.
A more conservative point suggest that unemployment is like a necessary byproduct of the modern economic system.
And it should be managed within its current levels.
Failure to manage this unemployment creates problems.

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