Neda says $3B needed to create 600,000 jobs

By: Riza T. Olchondra, February 18th, 2013 04:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines—With $3 billion worth of investments needed just to create some 621,000 jobs, government will have to step up its effort to generate employment by addressing the frequent mismatch in skills and developing key business sectors, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said over the weekend.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, who is also Neda director general, cited manufacturing, business process outsourcing, tourism and agribusiness as labor-intensive sectors with great potential for innovation and technology spillovers.

“Our initial estimates suggest that $3 billion [worth of] investments in these sectors will create 621,000 jobs,” Balisacan said.

Government is tackling policy inconsistencies and administrative inefficiencies that tend to hinder job creation. Though skills mismatch also serves as a constraint to employment generation, he said the Commission on Higher Education and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are working with colleges and schools to ensure that the courses being offered match potential job openings.

At the same time, the K-12 program is meant to ensure that students learn enough basic skills to facilitate the acquisition of advanced skills through training and to support innovative activity, Balisacan added.

According to data from the National Statistics Office, the number of employed Filipinos increased from 36.5 million in October 2010 to 37.7 million in October 2012. This corresponded to a drop in the unemployment rate from 7.1 percent to 6.8 percent during the same period.

The Philippines needs to generate 14 million jobs between now and 2016 to bring people out of poverty, according to World Bank country director Motoo Konishi.

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