10 October 2014The South African government is offering incentives to the private sector as a way of encouraging businesses to employ young people and reduce high levels of unemployment amongst the population group.Speaking at the International Monetary Fund-World Bank discussion sessions prior to the annual meetings taking place in Washington, D.C. in the US from 10 to 12 October, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said South Africa faces the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty and any structural reforms within the country have to take this into account.Nene was part of a panel of policy makers discussing “Challengers of Job-Rich and Inclusive Growth: Growth and Reform Challenges”. The panel included Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, Indonesian Finance Minister Muhammad Chatib Basr and International Labour Organization’s Deputy Director-General for Policy Sandra Polaski.“But in the process you have to go through is a painful process. Some of the decisions you have to take are tough decisions that might actually have an impact. Without the pain you are unlikely to address these problems,’ said Nene.However, in making these structural reforms or transformations, Nene said South Africa is making sure the process does not have drastic effects on citizens. He said government is bringing on board the youth who are the actual victims of unemployment in the country.“Businesses will get credit for employing young people and at the same time we are creating an environment that is conducive for the business to employ young people. Our plan is simple: reduce the cost of doing business whilst reducing the cost of living of the poor.’The South African government implemented the employment tax incentive scheme in January 2014 aimed at encouraging businesses to employ young people. The incentive reduces employers’ cost of hiring as the government pays half the costs that the employer incurs in employing a young person.Nene said such schemes had to be implemented even though some quarters resisted them; they were part of the “painful decisions” the government had to make. Some unions were against the implementation of the employment tax incentive, fearing companies would fire older workers in favour of younger ones.There was consensus among the panelists that structural reforms such as improving education and having labour laws that were not too stringent, as well as developing infrastructure, were among the best ways to grow an economy. But they agreed that the one size fits all approach is not feasible.Okonjo-Iweala said structural reforms were country-specific and that implementing them took time — something citizens did not take kindly to. “We all need structural reform but the point is, you have to look at the country, and the sequence of the reform is very important.”Nigeria began by dealing with nonperforming state-owned enterprises that were costing the country money, according to Okonjo-Iweala. “At the time we looked at it, the state-owned enterprises were a big fiscal drag and therefore it was very clear that we had to act,” she said.SAinfo reporter
Slit bike seats trigger communal tension in Assam’s Hailakandi, curfew clamped The administration in southern Assam’s Hailakandi town extended curfew by 24 hours besides suspending mobile Internet services on Saturday.A person died on Friday night after two groups clashed over the parking of two-wheelers at a mosque. Officials said the condition of two among the 10 injured, including policemen, was critical.Hailakandi Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli said the situation was under control. “We have extended prohibitory orders by a day and suspended mobile Internet services to prevent spread of rumours.”Kuladhar Saikia, DGP, said the cybercell had been scanning social media activities. “Anyone found fuelling communal passion would be dealt with sternly,” he said. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered a probe by an Additional Chief Secretary. Apart from sending Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya to Hailakandi, he had been coordinating with Addl. DGP Mukesh Agarwal and Barak Valley Division Commissioner Anwaruddin Choudhury, who are camping in the town.Also Read “I met the local leaders of Hindu and Muslim communities in the presence of senior officials for lasting peace,” Mr. Suklabaidya said, adding that he visited the injured at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital.He also announced ₹5 lakh as compensation for the family of Jasim Hussain, who succumbed to his injuries, and ₹50,000 each for the injured.The All Assam Minority Students’ Union blamed the government for failing to pre-empt the violence that had been brewing for a long time.“The administration appears to have let things happen,” its president Azizur Rahman said.The violence was triggered after two-wheelers a group had been parking haphazardly, allegedly to block the entrance to the mosque, were damaged. Things went out of control when another group decided to offer namaz on the road.The two groups began pelting stones. This led to mobs vandalising shops and setting vehicles on fire.
OTTAWA – There is less than two months to go before the federal election and the NDP is struggling to get candidates for a campaign that could start in days.The New Democrats are well behind the other major parties when it comes to nominating candidates, with the CBC reporting the NDP has 175 people running so far in the 338 ridings. That’s 82 less than the Greens and the lowest number for the major parties.“Never, it’s never been this bad,” says Sid Ryan, a former labour union leader who has run for the NDP twice under Jack Layton. “At this stage, it seems to be a campaign of ‘save the furniture.’”He says this is the worst organizational mess he’s ever seen the party in. He’s bailed as a potential candidate because of that, and says he doesn’t know how anyone nominated now can put up a real fight.“You don’t have an office, you don’t have any money, and you don’t have any infrastructure, any organization in place, no campaign manager — nothing,” Ryan says, adding he’s heard from frustrated New Democrats across the country.“It’s Quebec, it’s B.C., Ontario, Newfoundland — it’s everywhere,” Ryan notes.This comes at a time when the New Democrats are struggling in the polls and having trouble fundraising. Ryan points the finger of blame directly at Jagmeet Singh, saying the buck stops with the leader.We have reached out to the NDP but have yet to hear back.Meantime, Singh is expected to be acclaimed in his riding of Burnaby-South Friday evening.