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Employers fear loss of 1m jobs JAKARTA - More than one million Indonesian workers will lose their jobs this year due to ineffective government policies and fierce foreign competition, an employers' group has warned. New investors would stay away, scared by uncertainties resulting from this year's general election, said the Indonesia Employers Association, which groups the nation's leading businessmen.
Association chairman Sofjan Wanandi warned that all sectors of the economy could face trouble. This grim prediction came even as the Jakarta Stock Index rose sharply to close at a historic high on Monday. Indonesia's legislative election is slated for April 5 and a two-stage direct presidential election for July 5 and Sept 20. Some operations could be disrupted during this period, which would cause many firms to reduce their labour force, Mr Sofjan said.
Labour-intensive sectors, such as forestry and textiles, would lay off many of their employees. Around 500,000 to 600,000 forestry workers are expected to lose their jobs this year, a drastic rise from the 100,000 to 150,000 layoffs in 2003. In the textile industry, around 100,000 to 150,000 new layoffs are expected. Local firms also incur high production costs and cannot compete with low-cost counterparts in China and Vietnam, he said.
Mr Sofjan expected trading activities to slow down as dealers cut down on stocks during the elections. The low trading volume would force businesses to cut production by around 10 to 15 per cent, he said. Unemployment should top the agenda of the incoming government, said Mr Sofjan. 'Without first addressing unemployment, we will not be able to address other issues, including national security and political instability.'
Quoting government data, he said around 40 million workers were underemployed or unemployed in the country. In the past three years, around one million people lost jobs annually, about half of whom have become street vendors. Despite its achievement in improving the country's macroeconomic condition, the government has admitted that there has been slow progress in the fight against poverty and unemployment.
In the past two years, economic growth stood at 3 to 4 per cent. Such growth is insufficient to absorb a net influx of 2.5 million people entering the job market annually.



Posted in Economy @ 07 January 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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