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Unemployment rate in Timor-Leste reaches 11%

Dili Weekly - July 8, 2016

Paulina Quintao – Unemployment across the country has reached 11%, with mostly graduates among the jobless, according to 2013 research by the Secretary of State for Vocational Training Policy and Employment (SEPFOPE).

General Director of SEPFOPE Jacinto Barros Gusmao said the unemployment rate was increasing every year due to the limited job opportunities in Timor-Leste.

"It's true that every year unemployment numbers are getting higher because Timor still lacks industry and we only have the Heineken and Timor Cement industries," said Gusmao at his office in Kaikoli, Dili.

He said many companies in the private sector were also struggling financial and therefore not in a position to increase staffing levels. However, he said the government was making an effort to find job vacancies for the unemployed in South Korea, Australia and other countries.

"We have talked to entrepreneurs in Malaysia, China, Macau, Japan, New Zealand and we try to find out the way to send our people to work there because industry in Timor-Leste is still limited," he said.

He said unemployment was a growing social problem and the responsible entities needed to take action to resolve the issue otherwise there was a risk it could lead to the instability across the country.

Gusmao also called on the private sector to invest more heavily in sectors such as agriculture, tourism and fisheries as these had the potential to employ large numbers of people.

Meanwhile, national MP Eladio Faculto said he believed the unemployment rate in Timor-Leste was actually higher than 11% as many people were working in temporary or casual jobs.

"It (the job) is just temporary and it depends on the project. Once the project is completed they will be unemployed and there's no sustainable job [market]," he said. He also urged the government to invest strongly in other sectors to help reduce unemployment rates.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/capital/13882-unemployment-rate-in-timor-leste-reaches-11