A fifth of the Kur­dish pop­u­la­tion liv­ing on gov­ern­ment hand­outs!

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Swara Kadir

What is mak­ing the Kur­dish la­bor un­pro­duc­tive? Could it be the free oil money! Out of a pop­u­la­tion of nearly five mil­lion Kurds, there are one mil­lion who re­ceive a wage from the gov­ern­ment, ir­re­spec­tive of whether they are pro­duc­tive or not!

This huge num­ber of peo­ple on the gov­ern­ment pay­roll is crip­pling the Kur­dish econ­omy. The painful re­al­ity emerged almost a year ago when ten­sion be­tween Bagh­dad and Er­bil es­ca­lated and as a re­sult Bagh­dad stopped the share of Kur­dis­tan from the na­tional in­come which is around 15 bil­lion dol­lars per an­num or 17% of Iraq>s to­tal bud­get.

How can this eco­nomic prob­lem be solved? The gov­ern­ment needs to invest heav­ily in the pri­vate sec­tor in or­der to pro­vide sub­sti­tute em­ploy­ment for gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees. It needs to of­fer al­ter­na­tive se­cu­ri­ties that a gov­ern­ment job of­fers. Un­til now, col­lege grad­u­ates dream of a sta­ble gov­ern­ment po­si­tion. The easy wage, the short work­ing hours, the pen­sion plan; th­ese eco­nomic temp­ta­tions are keep­ing peo­ple from mov­ing to the pri­vate sec­tor.

With gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion of the pri­vate sec­tor, pro­vi­sion of a de­cent pen­sion and cer­tain job se­cu­ri­ties, the pri­vate sec­tor can be a re­al­is­tic al­ter­na­tive for the gov­ern­ment jobs. The fund­ing is not a prob­lem as the huge oil rev­enues can be redi­rected to­wards sup­port­ing the bur­geon­ing pri­vate sec­tor, by pro­vi­sion of grants and loans. Joint pri­vate-pub­lic part­ner­ships are a good op­tion where the gov­ern­ment pro­vides the fi­nanc­ing and the pri­vate company man­ages and runs the business. This has been ap­plied with some suc­cess in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor where Pri­vatePub­lic part­ner­ship schools have been opened by the SABIS® ed­u­ca­tional net­work.

There is a des­per­ate need to en­cour­age a spirit of en­ter­prise and en­trepreneur­ship in the coun­try. The gov­ern­ment has to pro­vide the nec­es­sary skills through qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and vo­ca­tional cour­ses. This way, the Kur­dish labour force can be­come more ef­fi­cient and pro­duc­tive.

Un­less painful re­duc­tions are made in the num­ber of pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees, the Kur­dis­tan econ­omy will con­tinue to bleed and re­main non-pro­duc­tive. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is un­sus­tain­able eco­nom­i­cally be­cause the av­er­age Kur­dish per­son is get­ting used to turn­ing to the gov­ern­ment for free hand­outs to sur­vive!

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