Dodoma — THE Ministry of Labour and Employment intends to generate more than 700,000 new employment opportunities this financial year.
Tabling her ministry's 2014/15 budget estimates totalling 23bn/-, the Minister for Labour and Employment, Ms Gaudentia Kabaka, told the National Assembly that the opportunities would be generated from various sectors.
She outlined the employment avenues as public service, the private sector, youth employment programmes through the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), and Economic Processing Zones.
Ms Kabaka told the august House that the avenues also included various employment generating projects aimed at imparting entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to youth.
She said her ministry had embarked on a drive to empower youth for self-employment, coupled with availing them with soft loans as well as entrepreneurial skills.
Ms Kabaka said the first phase of the three-year drive would start this financial year, adding that 3bn/- had been set aside for the purpose.
The minister told Parliament that as of April, this year, 630,000 employment opportunities had been generated in the sectors of agriculture, education, construction, energy and minerals, health, small-scale enterprises, Economic Processing Zones, communication and the private sector.
Moreover, she said, a Workers Compensation Fund would be set up this financial year to benefit those injured at the workplace.
She said appropriate regulations pertaining to employers' contribution to the fund, both from the public and private sectors, had been issued in order to make the fund operate effectively.
Ms Kabaka said the fund would be run similar to pension and insurance schemes under which workers who get injured, die or fall sick at the workplace would be compensated.
On foreigners' employment in the country, Ms Kabaka said during the financial 2013/14 the ministry received 7,432 work permit applications, of which 6,237 were granted, 1,175 were rejected and 20 were suspended.
She said her ministry was finalising a Foreigners Employment Bill which seeks to oversee and improve the procedure regarding work permit processing with a view to having the procedure undertaken under one roof.
Presenting the Parliamentary Social Services Committee report, the chairman, Mr Said Mtanda, told the National Assembly that out of between 800,000 and one-million graduates being churned out by institutions of higher learning yearly, only 100,000 were being employed.
He called for the establishment of an Elders Pension Fund, saying the government should borrow a leaf from a number of countries which were operating similar funds.
The opposition shadow minister, Ms Cecilia Paresso, stressed the need to cut the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax rates, saying they were adversely affecting workers' welfare.
She also challenged the government to invest in the National Institute for Productivity (NIP) so that it could deliver for the nation's economic development.