Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Unemployment Soars in Afghan Province
Ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is a major driver fuelling high rates of unemployment, according to speakers at an IWPR debate in Badghis province.
The Badghis director of labor and social affairs, Mohammad Naim Moalemzada, told the July 19 event that local unemployment was running at 60 per cent.
"Out of the 40 per cent of people with jobs, half of them have permanent and the rest temporary jobs, which means that they might work for three months and then be unemployed for three months,” he explained.
Moalemzada said that the local economy was suffering from a lack of private sector activity and a failure to exploit of mining resources and other natural reserves.
“In order to decrease unemployment, the government should attract investment to outlying areas to create factories and implement development programmes,” he continued. “It should intensify the fight against corruption and it also review and address the problems in the process of obtaining licenses for both investment and business.”
Other speakers highlighted issues of security and graft as major reasons for the dire state of the local jb market.
"Factors that have robbed people of employment are lawlessness, insecurity and massive corruption in government offices," said human rights activist Halima Rahpaima, adding that job creation bodies had failed to provide work for ordinary people, particularly in Badghis.
“There is no job security for workers,” she continued, adding that employees of both NGOs and the government were often summarily dismissed.
Provincial council member Abdullah Afzali agreed with this assessment.
“Insecurity, particularly in Badghis province, a lack of good governance and administrative corruption are central challenges for creating employment opportunities,” he said.
Speakers noted the effects of chronic levels of high unemployment. University student Sayyid Mohammad Ziayi said that young people with little hope of finding proper jobs faced a particularly bleak future.
“Among the negative consequences unemployment has in this country are public distrust in the government, youths joining the armed opposition, increasing crime, youth migration, drug abuse and general moral corruption,” he said.
An audience of some 120 activists, local dignitaries and students took part in the debate, and one participant called for senior government officials to join in with such public events so as to give ordinary people the chance to ask them questions directly.
Esmat Joya added, “Today's discussion was attended by a large number of young people and so was a very effective way to informing the youth about their rights when it comes to finding jobs and resolving their problems.”
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