Jordan wants to tackle joblessness by cutting back on foreign workers
Jordanians should replace foreign workers in order to reduce the country's double-digit unemployment rate, Labor Minister Aid Fayiz said Saturday, August 18. There are 300,000 foreign workers in Jordan where the jobless rate stands at 13.3 percent, Fayiz said on state television.
This "necessitates the replacement of foreign labor by Jordanians," he said, without announcing any specific measures. Fayiz said foreigners are most notably present in the construction sector, which Jordanian workers refuse to work in.
Prime Minister Ali Abu Raghib recently issued an appeal for people not to be ashamed of working in certain sectors of the economy. Jordan experienced a heavy influx of foreign labor following a massive exodus of its own people to the nearby Gulf countries during the oil boom of the 1970s. Most of the foreigners come from Egypt, Syria and Iraq, as well as from Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Official figures put the unemployment rate at 15.7 percent through February, but independent sources put the figure at 25 percent. This comes out of a work force that Fayiz said totals 1,325,000 people. Jordan has a population of five million, and a high annual growth rate of three percent. ― (AFP, Amman)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)