With the high unemployment rate on the island, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony believes there is an urgent need for proactive measures to strengthen private investment to absorb the pool of unemployed workers.
Delivering his 2013 Budget Address on Tuesday evening, under the theme “An Agenda For Economic Growth and Fiscal Sustainability” the country’s leader explained that unemployment data suggest that a large number of people have remained unemployed for extended periods. In addition, a large number of individuals are unable to find jobs which match their skills.
He said: “The results of Saint Lucia’s Labour Market Needs Assessment, undertaken in the final quarter of 2012, revealed that 60 percent of the labour market has not attained secondary school education and therefore do not have the requisite skills required for gainful employment. Also underscored was the mismatch of the skills set for the available jobs in the labour market. Currently, only three percent of the population is employed as technicians and associate professionals. However, there is a far greater demand for such individuals to partake in the reorganisation and expansion of businesses. Similarly, craft and related work account for only two percent of the employed population while significant demand exists for such workers.”
Dr. Anthony believes that central to dealing with the issue of unemployment is the need to train workers to meet these demands. In addition, increasing the pool of talent in these deficient areas will increase competition and could lead to increased quality and productivity.
“This, in essence, is the route towards igniting our hidden growth potential and taking Saint Lucia up the development ladder. The task ahead is certainly challenging but if we as a country commit ourselves to deal with the persistent problems in a strategic and structured way, there is no doubt that we can emerge from the current situation a stronger and better country. Periods of economic hardship must be used to tackle and correct our weaknesses, structural and otherwise,” he added.
The prime minister stressed that the goal of government is to seek cooperative strategies to address the pressing issues of anemic growth, high unemployment and high debt, while maintaining social stability and cohesion.
Add St. Lucia News Online on Whatsapp (758-722-6586) and Blackberry Messenger (2A983D96); follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/slunewsonline) and like us on Facebook (facebook.com/stlucianewsonline) for breaking stories and news as it is posted.