The government has kept its promises and delivered on human development through enhancing people’s capabilities and improving their opportunities, Minister with responsibility for labour Keith Scott told the National Assembly on Monday, while contending that the job market is vibrant.
According to Scott, who heads the Department of Labour within the Ministry of Social Protection, the proposed 2018 national budget is a people-centred budget, the provisions of which will see job creation.
He noted that during 2017, 168 young persons benefitted from the Youthbiz592 project as well as an in-school entrepreneurial project intended to empower young people with the entrepreneurial spirit to create, own and manage their own businesses rather than depending on government to provide them with jobs.
These programmes, according to Scott, generated 392 jobs and complemented many apprenticeship and other training programmes successfully piloted by the Board of Industrial Training (BIT).
The BIT, he explained, has trained 1,692 persons, mostly youths, for the job market
“The budget provides for the unleashing of the energies and creativity of youth on whose shoulders development of the nation rests,” Scott stated.
He noted that the budget has allocated $72 million more for these programmes, which include the Youths Involvement Project of Guyana (YIPOG), Youths Entrepreneurial Skills Training (YEST) and Hinterland Employment and Youths Scheme (HEYS). Cumulatively, they will be financed at a cost of $1.7 billion.
Additionally, the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme, which promotes and develops co-operative societies in hinterland regions, has been allocated $150 million.
The newly-resuscitated manganese mine in Region One is also expected to create at least 350 jobs directly and 12,000 through alternative employment in construction and ancillary facilities for the venture.
He further noted that an international consulting Agency, Norbac Consultancy, has been engaged to advise on a study for best options for alternative employment for GuySuCo workers, who are being laid off, so that some of these employees can be “accommodated …with opportunities provided beyond cutting cane.”
Scott also took time to note that strikes in the sugar industry have declined by 49.41% over the last three years.
He stated that 2017 has seen the lowest number of strikes the industry has recorded and is the first time in decades that the aggregate number of strikes in the industry is in the realm of double digits only. The relationship between labour and management at GuySuCo, according to Scott, has developed into one of cooperation and consensus rather than conflict. He credits his ministry with effecting this change. In 2015, there were a total of 170 strikes, in 2016 there were 139 strikes while in 2017 there have been 89 strikes.