Sunday 18 February 2018

IMF calls on Government to focus on unemployment

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THE International Monetary Fund has called on the Government to put significantly more resources into tackling long-term unemployment.

It comes as the Government unveiled its new plan to deal with the problem, promising to take 75,000 long-term out of work off the dole queues.

At the conclusion of its latest review mission, the Washington-based lender urged redeployment of staff with suitable skills and training to try and get people back into work.

“Reducing unemployment remains a key challenge,” the Fund said in a statement.

“The Pathways to Work initiative moves in the right direction, but significantly more resources are needed to ensure meaningful engagement with job-seekers, especially the long-term unemployed.

“Thus, the mission urged timely redeployment of staff with suitable skills and training, supported by private sector provision of employment services.”

However the IMF said that while unemployment remain high, it has dropped to a three year low.

“Overall, modest positive growth is expected this year as the external environment improves and the domestic economy stabilises.”

Under the Government’s new plan, 20,000 long-term unemployed people off the dole queues by the end of this year.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced plans to get 75,000 off the dole in a major jobs stimulus.

Talks are ongoing between the Government and the troika as the country prepares to exit the bailout programme.

They centre around access to precautionary credit lines from the eurozone, the IMF or both that the Government can fall back if its ability to sell bonds was interrupted.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said today any 'backstop' arrangements would be temporary.

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