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A Country That Works

IT is a known fact that unemployment can cause irreparable harm to society, the family structure and an individual’s psyche. This is perhaps the primary reason why many countries pump significant resources into reducing high rates of unemployment and attempt to attack this critical issue at its core.

Eroded purchasing power, a reduced gross domestic product (GDP) and an increase in crime, poverty and frustration, represent a very small fraction of the damage that is done.

Guyana is not exempted from such woes and over the last three years, it has experienced a steady decline in unemployment rates.
This has been recognised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which has projected in its report titled, ‘Regional Overview: Global and regional economies at a crossroads,’ that the 14.5 per cent rate recorded in 2021 could fall to 12.4 per cent for 2022. Given the government’s actions and the strong desire and determination to succeed, the rate for 2023 is anticipated to be even lower.

These statistics are not only encouraging but significant, as they represent government’s successful implementation of policies and programmes and their hands-on approach to ensuring lives are enhanced and the economy is flourishing.
Since taking office, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali has been leading his government on an aggressive campaign to ensure that the unemployed becomes employed. The discovery of oil has paved the way for the creation of jobs for locals in that sector and many other sectors have opportunities for citizens to earn incomes.

The ongoing aggressive drive includes initiatives such as the part-time jobs programme, Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) scholarships, Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Women’s Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) training programmes and a wide range of skill training through the Ministry of Labour’s Board of Industrial Training (BIT). To ensure the success of the various initiatives, the government has set aside billions of dollars.

Some of this training is relevant to the oil and gas sector and so, instead of importing labour, persons have taken up the various opportunities to learn skills that are relevant to that industry and have thus made themselves marketable.
The housing sector has also opened many job opportunities. Persons who have construction skills have been able to secure jobs in this sector and so have those who have benefitted from the various skills-training programmes.

The various initiatives have also created entrepreneurs. Persons have opened their own businesses and are generating incomes.
Additionally, the Labour Ministry is doing its part by finding jobs for persons through its National Job Bank which was launched in March 2022. Over 300 persons secured employment that year and thousands more have registered for possible placement.
While recognising the government’s efforts, the IDB credited the booming oil and gas sector as one of the main drivers of economic development, as well as for the decline in unemployment.

The government’s focus also remain strong on reducing the employment gap between men and women.
Based on official figures more than half of the people benefitting from public sector scholarships (57 per cent) are women and 69 per cent of the people accessing public sector training are also women.

As efforts are being made to find solutions to Guyana’s unemployment issues, these must be embraced as the goal must be to further reduce the country’s unemployment rate.
The high-quality training, introduction of new jobs in various sectors, and the development of favourable economic and social conditions cannot go unnoticed.

Combined, these factors will create favourable conditions for development and sustainability of the business sector to prevent an increase in the country’s unemployment rate, going forward.