NEP far from reaching its target of employing 60,000 Jordanians

factory workers worker
Jordanian men and women employed in a garment factory in one of Jordan’s industrial zones. ( File photo: Flickr)
AMMAN — When it was launched in April this year, the government said that the National Employment Program (NEP) 2022–2023 would encourage the private sector to provide jobs to Jordanians and reduce the unemployment rate, which is one of the biggest challenges facing the national economy, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.اضافة اعلان

The government had allocated JD80 million for the implementation of the program in its 2022 budget, hoping to create jobs for 60,000 youths over the course of the year. The program subsidizes wages for six months at a value of JD150 per month through annual contracts with the private sector.

According to Ministry of Labor figures, 33,220 vacancies were identified, of which 3,838 were allocated for the month of July, 4,000 for August, and 18,324 for the period till the end of the current year.

Head of the Workers’ House Hamada Abu Nijmeh said that the program “will not solve or reduce the unemployment problem”.

He told Jordan News that the program links employers with workers, but “does not contribute to solving the unemployment crisis in the long run”.

He added that such a program should be part of the normal mission of any government and “not a temporary program”.

While the program may contribute to creating some jobs, “it will not be a solution, given the significant number of new graduates who join the labor market annually,” Abu Nijmeh said.

He called for creating a database that benefits employers, workers, different sectors, and policies and said that it is necessary to conduct in-depth studies of each sector’s current and future needs.

Abu Nijmeh urged the government to change its approach in dealing with unemployment, “through vocational training and education, starting at school and ending with guidance in choosing a specialization and then a job”.

Head of the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions Mazen Al-Maaytah told Jordan News that the employment program faces great obstacles, “as the work opportunities available are limited”.

He added that “we are going through a stage of economic recovery, but the modest growth rate makes addressing unemployment through this program unsatisfactory”.

Maaytah called for coordinating and intensifying efforts of social  partners, employers, workers and the government, thus “bridging the gaps and finding creative solutions to reducing the unemployment rate”.

He also stressed that an appropriate investment climate must be created.

“The Jordanian market should be attractive to investors, and, accordingly, it is necessary to facilitate administrative decisions related to granting licenses, and reforming tax and customs regulations, so as to attract new investments that will create new job opportunities,” he said.

Ahmad Awad, head of the Jordan Labor Watch, told Jordan News that the employment program “does not generate job opportunities”.

He stressed that the funds allocated to this program “must be spent on establishing and managing projects that would create many job opportunities”.

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