Govt’s part-time jobs addressing labour shortages – VP Jagdeo
– 10,000 women currently employed through the initiative
Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo said the government’s part-time jobs programme is addressing labour shortages, while also supplementing household income for families.
He was speaking on Thursday evening, during a discussion at State House, Georgetown.
The vice president addressing members of the private sector, noted that there are currently 13,000 persons employed through the programme, of which 10,000 are women.
“Most of them never had a job before. That’s bringing people into the workforce, women into the workforce. So, we’ve got a good run up against labour shortages, which we’d have to supply at some point in time from imported labour. But if we can bring women into the workforce, we can add another 100,000, maybe 150,000 Guyanese to the workforce,” Dr Jagdeo noted.
The initiative was conceptualised as part of the PPP/C Administration’s plan to not only supplement household income, but to address the significant deficit of over 70,000 jobs inherited when it assumed office in August 2020.
In Region Six, the sugar belt, thousands of sugar workers had lost their jobs due to the closure of the estates by the APNU+AFC government. In this regard, the programme provided the opportunity for persons to earn.
“We went to Region Ten and we have 1,164 persons working in that region who did not have a job. Many of them are women. Single mothers who are looking for jobs…These are people who never were in the workforce. Ninety per cent of them or maybe 95 per cent were never in the workforce,” VP Jagdeo pointed out.
Through the initiative, persons can work for 10 days per month in the respective government agencies and ministries and earn up to $40,000.
During the discussion, it was noted that the private sector has to compete with the government for employees, citing the part-time jobs and the annual salary increases and tax incentives being offered by the government as examples.
In response, the vice president urged the private sector to offer more competitive wages to retain their employees.
“People must have more mobility, they’re not serfs or slaves to a particular fast-food place or the Government of Guyana, where if they can find a better opportunity, they should move to it…that’s the kind of thing, labour mobility,” he underscored.
VP Jagdeo noted that this is the reality of living in a capitalist free market system, therefore he encouraged the private sector to train more persons, while at the same time offering viable salaries.
During the State House discussion, the vice president, along with President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, Senior Minister in the Office of the President, Dr Ashni Singh and other officials addressed members of the private sector and fielded a number of questions.