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Tunisia: National Employment Strategy to be launched December 17

The National Employment Strategy will be launched next December 17, announced Minister of Employment and Vocational Training Abdelwaheb Maatar at the National Conference for Employment which opened Thursday, June 28, 2012, in Tunis.

The National Employment Strategy that aims to absorb the maximum number of unemployed people is the result of a work of more than four months led by the Ministry of Training, in collaboration with experts, associations of unemployed youth, representatives of civil society and members of the Constituent Assembly.

However, to bring this strategy to a successful end, best solutions should be found, and this through the establishment of a development strategy based on investment, education, training, good governance and the role of civil society, said the minister.

He called on all parties and persons concerned to redouble their efforts for the establishment of a national strategy, the first of its kind in terms of employment.

He indicated that his department is working to take the necessary steps to implement this strategy despite the physical, administrative and legislative obstacles.

It is in this context that he recommended reforming programs of the public funds for employment which are, according to him, marginalized and do not contribute to the creation of employment. Abdelwaheb Maatar called also to define the guidelines of the state budget for 2013 from now.

For his part, Yousef al Kariouti, Director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) office in Cairo said that to create jobs, we must first ensure the economic and social security of the country. He added that the creation of employment is not the responsibility of government but rather of businessmen, civil society and social organizations which should work together with more harmony.

As for Mohamed Msselmi, Executive Board member of the UGTT, who spoke on behalf of Houcine Abassi, Secretary General of the Union, he said that Tunisia does not need other diagnoses. “Several diagnoses were made already in 2008 and 2010, and have not produced the desired results. He said that 55% of Tunisians who have a job worked without a contract during 2011, i.e. more than the half work without regulations and social security.

Mohamed Msselmi also indicated that 44% of people who work do it under fixed-term contracts.

The organization of the National Conference for Employment aims to achieve a consensual approach in terms of goals and directions. The ministry has already initiated regional consultations, discussions with members of the Constituent Assembly and think tanks bringing together experts, academics, unemployed people and civil society players.

The conference also aims to establish an accurate and common diagnosis of the situation and problems of employment in Tunisia. Its goal is also to set up an emergency plan to boost employment. Four teams of the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training are already mobilized to find urgent measures.

The conference is also an opportunity to define the outlines of a national strategy to promote employment which will be based primarily on tax reform, the development of national projects in employment, the development of micro- finance, investment and regional priorities.

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