Minister of Vocational Training and Employment, Zied Lâadhari gave African Manager an exclusive interview in which he said his department eyes an unemployment rate of 11% over the next five years. He, on another hand, said the ministry rejects the unemployment benefit, calling it “trivial measure.”
What is the current state of unemployment in Tunisia?
The current unemployment rate in Tunisia is around 15.2%, a very high rate. There are 420,000 unemployed in Tunisia whose age varies between 15 and 29 years. This age group represents 2 million 900 thousand unemployed. These are very worrying figures particularly in the light of the terrorist threat to Tunisia and to youth. The problem of unemployment in Tunisia is structural requiring radical solutions.
What are the projections of the Ministry in terms of employment?
Our goal is to move down from more than 15.2% to 11% over the next five years in terms of unemployment.
Is this rate really feasible?
This rate of 11% in terms of unemployment remains dependent on the recovery of the national economy. We must first believe in the potential that our country can offer to young job seekers.
What is the strategy of the Ministry in this regard?
The ministry is working on structural problems that require solutions and structural reforms, and the issue of employment can not be treated amicably or by trivial measures. We need a new approach in the medium and long terms.
What is the government’s position on the unemployment benefit claimed by young Tunisians?
Although the government fully understands the demands of the unemployed, today it focuses increasingly on providing adequate solutions to youth. The Ministry of Employment, the only body in charge of this issue is not there to give bonuses but rather to help youth start their own projects, to venture into entrepreneurship and receive training. We do not want to give young people subsidies. We do not want our young people to be content with a small bonus! We want them to go beyond. The government seeks to develop a premium for employment and not for unemployment.
How then will you respond to the demands of young people?
We want to dedicate a new ministry for employment and we hope to launch a program that can provide concrete answers and responses to the demands of young people. We want now to work on the development of vocational training as the first program of the Ministry, but also explore the niches of employment and areas that are not sufficiently exploited such as green economy, digital economy and social economy. We want to go in sectors where there is potential and ensure that young people are moving towards those sectors.
What is the ministry’s program to promote employment?
The strategy of the Ministry is based primarily on vocational training but also on employment, the redesign of intermediation as well as that of the service of the national employment agency and training for job seekers to that it appropriately responds to labor market requirements.
We also want to explore the international market where there are jobs, strengthen cooperation at the international level but also work on entrepreneurship which is like a large construction site with high employment potential. Our objective is to steer the economy towards job-creating sectors and areas where there is potential today with the aim of developing the national economy.