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Drastic drop in unemployment

Records 5.2 percent in 2008:

Boost in health education:

New projects in North and East:

State Revenue and Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament yesterday that the unemployment rate of Sri Lanka has come down to 5.2 percent in 2008 from 16 percent in 1990 in spite of the challenges posed by the global economic recession and the North-East war.

“The country is currently going ahead in achieving development goals gradually after the consolidation of national security”, the Minister said.

As a result of strengthening State mechanisms on alleviating poverty, minimising unemployment and boosting the education and health sectors, the unemployment rate has come down. The rate stood at 7.7 percent in 2005, 7.5 percent in 2006, 6 percent in 2007.

The Minister said the Government was mainly concerned on strengthening national security, to protect the motherland.

“That is why we have been able to eradicate terrorism which had suppressed the people for the past 30 years”, he said.

“Today people enjoy their democratic rights and are living in a terror free environment”, he said.

The Minister was responding to a special statement made by JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. The Government has taken a number of measures to strengthen the State mechanism in the North and East under the Uthuru Wasanthaya and Negenahira Navodaya programs.

“There will be many employment opportunities with the ongoing development programs in the North and the East”, he said. Siyambalapitiya said graduates must develop their skills and engage in capacity building in addition to the qualifications they have, so that they could be employable in the Government sector.

The Minister said the Government did not consider ethnicity of graduates when they were enroled into State sector in 2004 and 2005.

Since 2004 up to now, 57,764 graduates have been granted jobs, he said.

“There are a large number of vacancies in the public sector but the Government cannot find qualified persons, as there is a acute shortage of skilled labour in the country”, he noted.

The Minister said a degree alone from a recognised university does not guarantee a job, but the graduates are required to improve additional skills.

He said graduates in the North and East will be able to obtain employment once the North and East Provincial Councials fill their vacancies in the near future.

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