Rising unemployment

The massive layoffs of workers in recent months in the private sector has pushed up the rate of unemployment to 14-15 percent whereas the government figures project it below 6 percent. Employees Federation of Pakistan (EPF) president MajeedAzeez said that the government numbers do not reflect the ground reality. He opined if government’s data of 5.79 percent unemployment in the country is to be believed then every new entrant in the job market can easily get employment where the real scenario is totally different.
The unemployment problem has been made complex by prolonged recessionary cycle of more than 10 years and stabilization measures of the present government to fix the faltering economy under IMF programme of structural reforms. The production in manufacturing and agriculture sector has gone down and economic activity in construction industry has stagnated to greater extent. The unemployment situation will become the worst if privitisation of huge losses incurring state enterprises is implemented on fast track under IMF pressure in addition to reduction of 40000 thousand employees in Oil and Gas Development Corporation, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Pakistan Television Corporations Sui Gas Companies, and Pakistan International Airlines.
In the prevailing scenario Prime Minister Programme of low cost housing scheme give a ray of hope. It will give boost to production in the industries of cement, steel, paints, tiles, wood work and other allied enterprises. It will generate sufficient employment opportunities of daily wage and long term nature.
Agriculture is still providing jobs to 55 percent of workforce. The incentives of soft loans, liberal amount of subsidy on inputs like fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, provision of high yield varieties of hybrid seeds and exemption in the current 20 plus taxes will help generate a lot of economic activity in this sector thus creating more employment opportunities.
Another labour intensive sector is cottage and small scale industries. It has continuously registered an impressive growth despite stagnation in large and medium scale manufacturing, providing employment to both skilled and unskilled workers. But now bank credit squeeze because of13.25 interest rate has impacted economic activity in these industries, causing termination of workers from service. Fiscal and monetary incentives will avert the possibility of closer of cottage and small scale industries and will help create more jobs and addition to the national output.

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