Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Some Bajans risk becoming unemployable

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Barbadians need to be put back to work soon, otherwise there is a risk that a number of people will be become unemployable.

Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes gave this assessment yesterday, noting that Government’s Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) plan was vital not only for re-engaging tourism industry workers, but if successful, would positively impact employment in other sectors.

The Central Bank reported in its third quarter economic review that the reopening of the economy in July permitted some people to return to work, but unemployment in the key tourism and hospitality sector remained high.

“Some workers are working shorter hours and layoffs persisted into the quarter as the private sector adapted to the altered economic environment. The spike in unemployment insurance claims led to over 32 000 claims being paid between late March and September,” the report stated.

“However, given the combined impact of the re-engagement of some employees and the statutory termination of unemployment insurance for others, the number of persons expected to draw on unemployment insurance will decline in coming months.”

Responding to a question at his third quarter press conference, the governor said “getting that [BEST] programme under way, getting the hotels reopened, getting the restaurants reopened, is very important in being able to start the process.

“But [it] . . . is going to be a gradual process. It is difficult to have everybody back at work at once immediately, but that’s why we have to work on the things like the capital works programmes, because those are things that can generate jobs,” he said.

“The agriculture, for example, can also help to generate jobs, and then the spill-over effects of getting our tourism back on track. It’s going to be a gradual process, but we just have to work through this so that we can get as many persons engaged as soon as possible.” (SC)

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