The Government intends to kickstart discussions soon with the local private sector to discuss the issue of the importation of skilled labour, as the demand for skilled workers grow due to the country’s booming oil and gas sector, President Irfaan Ali has announced.
Delivering remarks at the opening of the Private Sector Commission’s 31st annual general meeting on Tuesday, President Ali said while the issue of labour shortage was expected, it has now risen to unprecedented levels.
“Given the pace of economic development, particularly the massive transformative projects which are being undertaken including within the private sector, it was expected that there would be an increase demand for skilled labour. Upon assuming office we took steps to begin to train persons but clearly, now the rate of development has outstrip the rate of new skilled entrance into the labour market,” the President said.
The President said while the country has made some progress in building capacity, that capacity does not appear to be enough, as the demand for skilled labour has now outstrip the country’s capacity.
“Over the long term and as our economy grows further, we will have to look towards the importation of skilled labour. Our population is much too small to sustain an economy which has tripled in size in recent years,” the President said.
He said the issue of skilled labour has to be further discussed with the private sector as a matter of urgency so that the issue could be addressed.=
“We are also keenly aware that the shortage of labour have led to the increase in cost of skilled labour and we are concerned that this could lead to increases in project costs,” the President said.
Though not indicating the particular labour needs of the country, the President said the issue has to be addressed.
With a construction boom taking place, many contractors and companies have been finding it difficult to attract various tradesmen to complete the job.