Monday May 20, 2019

Investments needed to stem youth exodus in Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged north

Feb 26, 2019 17:24 PM GMT+0530 | 1 Comment(s)

  More factories such as this Hidramani apparel plant for needed to create jobs for youth in northern Jaffna.

ECONOMYNEXT – Investments to create jobs are urgently needed in Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged north to stem an exodus of youth, a new study has said.

“Outmigration patterns will continue on the current upward trend without a concerted effort to increase both the quality and quantity of work opportunities in the Northern Province,” according to the Central Bank-sponsored study to revive the northern economy.

“Finding avenues for integrating youth into production and regular employment is equally important.”

It noted that there was a 50-percent increase of departures for foreign employment from the Northern Province over the period 2011 - 2016, with a peak annual figure of 12,642 in 2014.

The northern province lagged behind the rest of the country due to destroyed and underdeveloped infrastructure, and deteriorated social institutions and human resources, said the study, an economic development framework for the Northern Province master plan.

“Continual investment in upgrading the quality of human resources, particularly of youth, is required to enable higher long-term levels of productivity and better returns to labour from small agricultural producers, to skilled labour and professional business and financial management required for industries and service sector firms.”

In parallel, the study recommends initiating workforce development programmes that are in line with how the structure of the economy is predicted to change over the next decade.

“Increased participation of labour in production can immediately increase economic growth and employment,” the study said.

“Given the low female participation rate in the North, bringing more women into the labour force will significantly increase production.

“These new employment opportunities must be designed to accommodate women’s domestic responsibilities, providing decent working conditions, proximate location and time flexibility."

Livelihoods programmes targeted at women must go beyond default responses such as handicrafts production that tend to omit the costs of labour.
(Colombo/February 26/2019-SB)


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  1. Anton Jay February 26, 11:08 AM

    Until and unless a meaningful political solution is offered to the people in North and East it is very difficult to convince the diaspora community to invest in sustainable economic development in North as well as East. This we can see from the appointment of the Northern and Easter Province governors. There is some what confidence in things that are happening. If a meaningful political solution is offered by the government you will see a shift in the economic development in that part of the country. Our leaders should think about the people not polls and make bold decision. Like President Premadasa and President Chandrika Bandaranayake.

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