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‘Ministry working on comprehensive survey of labour sector’

By Dana Al Emam - Jul 12,2016 - Last updated at Jul 12,2016

AMMAN — The Labour Ministry is currently working with representatives of the concerned official bodies to carry out a comprehensive survey on the labour market, Minister Ali Ghezawi said on Tuesday.

The survey will produce precise figures of national and guest workers as well as their distribution in various sectors.

“This survey will help the ministry in planning for the sector,” Ghezawi told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the launch of a soft loan programme for Social Security Corporation retirees. 

In remarks on Monday, the minister noted that preliminary estimates indicate that there are 750,000 foreign workers in the Kingdom and only 300,000 of them have work permits.

Some 100,000 guest workers are employed in the agricultural sector and only 40 per cent of them have permits, Ghezawi said, adding that of those with permits to work in agriculture, 70 per cent have illegally moved to work in other sectors.

Stressing the need to promote self-employment, Ghezawi said around 95 per cent of businesses are small or medium in size, and they hire up to 60 per cent of the labour market, contributing 65 per cent of the gross domestic product.

The government’s executive economic programme supports facilitated funding for small businesses and promotes private sector work culture to reduce unemployment, he added.

The minister cited the launch of a new JD25 million collective self-funding programme for small businesses by the Development and Employment Fund as an example of the ministry’s efforts to facilitate funding for emerging businesses.

He added that the move seeks to find alternative means of employment for young Jordanians and to deepen the culture of free business, as employment in the public sector is limited to the ministries of health and education.

Official figures show that the public sector is bloated and employs up to 42 per cent of Jordanians.

The collective self-funding programme allows four beneficiaries or more aged between 22 and 45, living in remote and underprivileged areas to access loans of up to JD5,000 individually or JD30,000 collectively to create an income, generating project, with a 2 per cent interest rate, according to the minister.

Beneficiaries can repay the loans over a period of 10 years, with a grace period of 12 months.

The minister noted that the idea behind the collective project is to secure a surety for an emerging project, as beneficiaries guarantee each others’ commitment to payment.

The programme will provide beneficiaries with technical and administrative support to help sustain their projects, which could be in various services or productive sectors.

 

“Specialised neutral bodies will supervise the progress of projects,” Ghezawi said, adding that gradual funding will depend on these progress reports.

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