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Govt in ambitious job creation drive

Bereng Mpaki

THE government will next week commence two ambitious programmes to create at least 8500 jobs for locals aged from 18 to 45 years.

The job creation programmes are being spearheaded by the Ministry of Finance to empower the country’s youths who have been hamstrung by lack of employment opportunities.

The ministry announced the ambitious job creation drive in a recent statement and called upon people within the 18 to 45 years age bracket to register for the apprenticeship and public works programmes at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) offices around the country.

The two programmes, namely the apprenticeship programme and the public works programmes, are scheduled to commence on 12 August this year with registration of interested youths to take place at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) offices in their areas around the country.

The apprentice programme seeks to ensure “on the job training” for 3500 unemployed graduates to give them the experience they need to be suitable for employment.

In the apprentice programme the government will place the youths in participating companies in areas of work that match their skills and the government will provide stipends to the youths. Businesses interested in participating in the initiative should also register with the government.

On the other hand, the public works programme seeks to place 5000 unskilled youths in district councils. The youths will be employed in roads maintenance, dams and donga rehabilitation and in the construction and maintenance of irrigation schemes.

Youths will be employed on a rotational basis with each batch working for six months at a time. The youths will also paid wages in line with existing similar public works programmes.

The Ministry of Finance also announced 12 August and 19 August 2019 as the dates for registering for the apprenticeship and public works programmes respectively.

“Registrations by both the firms and the youths will take place at central IEC constituency offices in the 80 constituency offices in Lesotho,” the Finance ministry said in the statement.

“Applications for apprenticeships should be submitted at the IEC constituency offices from 12 august 2019. Youths with tertiary qualifications (certificate, diploma and degree) are eligible to apply. The interested participants should continue registering until the end of September 2019 when the window will be closed.

“It is the wish of the government that all relevant government department and stakeholders participate in this initiative and impart their knowledge and skills to the youth such that they are able to; on their own or as communities; continue to utilise such skills for their livelihoods and come up with community projects that they can work on as communities or in partnership with the government.”

In a subsequent interview with the Sunday Express, the Private Sector Development Manager in the Ministry of Finance, Folojeng Folojeng, said those employed in the public works programme will earn M1200 per month in line with existing similar public works programmes.

He said skilled persons on the apprentice programme will receive monthly stipends of M2000 per month for a certificate holder, M2500 for a diploma holder, M3000 for a holder of a first degree and M3500 for master’s degree holder.

“The public works programme was designed to hire people on a rotational basis so that as many of the unemployed people are given a chance to work,” Mr Folojeng said.

He said it was necessary to include people as old as 45 years because some of these people have been unemployed for a long time after graduating as far back as 2002.

Mr Folojeng said although interested people had to register at the IEC officials they would however, be attended to by Finance ministry officials.

In presenting the budget speech in March this year, Finance minister Moeketsi Majoro said the M300 million initiative sought to empower the beneficiaries to get jobs or to establish their own businesses.

“Government is pained by the weakness in the economy and the rampant joblessness. There are 10 000 graduates that are looking for placement but can’t find any opening and many have been waiting for more than 10 years.

“The proposals in this budget will create 20 000 new jobs by the end 2021. But to ease the current pressure and desperation, government proposes a public works and internship programme and sets aside M300 million to cover the allowances under these programmes,” Dr Majoro said in March.

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