Unemployment in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna doubles over two years
ECONOMYNEXT- Unemployment in Sri Lanka’s former war-torn Jaffna District has doubled over the past two years to 10.7 percent, data from the statistics office showed, as President Maithripala Sirisena has said reducing unemployment in the region was a priority.
Jaffna unemployment had also risen to 7 percent in 2016 from 5.7 percent in 2015, a Census and Statistics Department (DCS) report said.
The Mullativu District unemployment also grew to 4.8 percent in 2017 from 3.7 percent in 2016.
President Maithripala Sirisena at a September meeting with major lending agencies had said that reducing unemployment among the northern youth is a priority.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said an ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ exhibition, which helps young people, would be held in Jaffna.
There may be regulations in the area that is preventing faster development. Sri Lanka’s Jetwing group which tried to build a 12-story hotel in Jaffna had to cut it down to 7 floors after objections from planning authorities in the region and also fears over water supplies.
The central bank under the current administration has tightened credit for small enterprises like three wheelers. Critics say areas like the North and East where transport infrastructure is weak, would pay the highest price.
The labour force in the region has also grown as more refugees leave camps for their own houses and start to look for work, according to some analysts.
In addition a drought in has also increased unemployment in the agriculture sector island-wide, which also has a knock on effect on related industries. The statistics said the drought was contributing to unemployment even in the first quarter of 2018.
In Mannar and Vavuniya and Kilonochi unemployment has started to move down.
In Mannar unemployment fell to 3.8 percent in 2017 from 7.1 percent in 2016, after increasing from 6.4 percent in 2015.
In Vavunia, unemployment fell to 2.8 percent in 2017 from 5.2 percent in 2016 after increasing from 4.3 percent in 2015.
In Kilinochchi, unemployment fell to 6.1 percent in 2017 from 6.3 percent in 2016, after growing from 5.7 percent in 2015.
Many apparel manufacturing units have been set up in these districts, and have been a major contributor to employment since the war ended, creating 7,817 jobs.
The Board of Investment in September said that in the post-war era, 8,754 jobs have been created in the Northern District, while another 1,300 jobs will be created through projects which have gained approval.
The new Inland Revenue Act gives more capital allowances for investments in the Northern Province. (Colombo/Sept14/2018)