May 07, 2010 12:00:41 PM FijiLive
An economist has raised concern over the increasing unemployment rate in Fiji.
Speaking at the launch of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2010 in Suva this morning, Professor Biman Prasad said the unemployment problem is a serious one and ‘is both the result of global economic crisis and political crisis’.
The University of the South Pacific’s Professor of Economics and Dean said records held by the Ministry of National Planning revealed that almost a half (47 per cent) of all the unemployed had attained Senior Secondary or higher education.
This percentage was even higher for females (67 per cent) than for males (35 per cent).
Some 14 per cent of the unemployed had Certificates, Diplomas or Degrees, he said.
As well, Prasad said the government has already done enough to cut expenditure in some of the key sectors such as public service.
“There is little room for further savings from the reforms in the civil service and if the cuts go any further, it will affect the delivery of services in a significant manner”.
Prasad added policies which Fiji adopted to ensure the poor and vulnerable were not affected, are commendable.
“For example, it increased the income tax threshold from $9000 to $15000, reduction of duty on basic food items, increased welfare assistance, food voucher system, and support for school children through bus fare and text book subsidy, and support for the agricultural sector to raise production and thereby increasing income levels for the farmers,” continued Prasad.
Prasad also noted that the decision by government to introduce the new Wages Regulation Order in July 2009 was a positive move as it would protect low income workers wages to an acceptable level.
Professor Prasad says the future prosperity of Fiji will depend on how we can create confidence.
And by the looks of things, the CONFIDENCE building is going to and will be a futile exercise because of the POLITICAL CRISIS created by VOREQE'S COUP-never mind its so-called "good" intentions!