Pri­vate sec­tor calls for Di­a­logue on high Un­em­ploy­ment Rate

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The St. Lu­cia busi­ness com­mu­nity has ex­pressed con­cern about the rate of un­em­ploy­ment, es­pe­cially among the youth, and has called for na­tional di­a­logue on the mat­ter.

Un­em­ploy­ment cur­rently stands at 25 per cent and un­em­ploy­ment among young peo­ple hov­ers around 49 per cent.

The Cham­ber of Com­merce, In­dus­try and Agri­cul­ture made its con­cern known dur­ing a meet­ing with Com­merce and In­vest­ment Min­is­ter, Emma Hip­polyte, one in a series of planned meet­ings with key govern­ment of­fi­cials to en­sure rel­e­vant mat­ters are ad­dressed.

Ac­cord­ing to a Cham­ber state­ment, the Cham­ber and the Min­is­ter ex­am­ined progress on the ease of do­ing busi­ness and agreed that while some progress had been made, there still was not suf­fi­cient ag­gres­sive ac­tion in some cru­cial ar­eas.

“The Cus­toms and Ex­cise Depart­ment came in for praise, but the fact that lit­tle progress had been made on the im­por­tant Sin­gle Win­dow ob­jec­tive was dis­ap­point­ing,” the state­ment said.

Hip­polyte gave an up­date on the work of the Min­istry over the last few months, where some changes to the struc­ture had been ap­proved by Cabi­net, specif­i­cally the merg­ing of the Small En­ter­prise Devel­op­ment Unit and the Trade Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Agency. “The Cham­ber raised con­cern over the high level of un­em­ploy­ment in the coun­try and called for a na­tional di­a­logue on this se­ri­ous mat­ter which af­fects the youth dis­pro­por­tion­ately. The Cham­ber also called for struc­tural re­forms in­clud­ing tack­ling the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to im­prove out­comes and per­for­mances.

“Other sub­jects dis­cussed in the two-hour long meet­ing in­cluded, pro­pos­als for amend­ing VAT ( Value Added Tax), the poul­try in­dus­try, the Trade Li­cense Regime and the prob­lem of va­grancy in the coun­try which the Cham­ber agreed to lead the dis­cus­sion on find­ing a hu­man ap­proach to deal­ing with this both­er­some and so­cially un­ac­cept­able sit­u­a­tion.

“The par­ties agreed to have fol­low up dis­cus­sions and re­dou­ble ef­forts in mak­ing progress on ‘Mak­ing it Eas­ier to Do Busi­ness in St. Lu­cia’,” the Min­is­ter re­vealed

Emma Hip­polyte in a meet­ing with the Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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