The truth is staring us unblinkingly in the face. Unemployment in this country is growing at a remarkable rate with no solution visible.
The issue is especially apparent in villages on the outskirts of Apia where more and more people are flooding to in search of a better life. You see these people everyday, especially grown men and women who have nothing to do but dream ways to rob someone because that’s the only thing they could do.
These are worrying times.
The problem is that each of us - one way or another - is related to or knows of someone who is unemployed, or looking for a job. That’s the harsh reality we have to live with in this paradise we call home.
Many young people fresh out of College, University and other tertiary or vocational training centres are out there, job hunting.
But they are not alone.
People who were previously employed elsewhere are also doing the hard yards actively seeking re-employment.
In this instance, it’s perhaps fair to say that the workers are plentiful, but there is no work. And before we heap the usual laziness sermons upon them, in most cases, their hands really are tied.
Where do you go looking for something that doesn’t exist? Where would all these people find jobs if there aren’t any available in Samoa?
The most troubling trend, however, is that among our young people so many now have nothing to do. They are just roaming up and down the streets doing nothing. There are simply far too many school leavers with very few job opportunities available for them to choose from.
The primary solution to this dilemma of course should come from the government. They have a responsibility to create an enabling environment where businesses flourish so that they could grow and offer more employment opportunities.
Is that happening? You be the judge.
Of course we cannot discount efforts that are being made to address the issue. Among them have been countless meetings, workshops and plans about creating opportunities to provide formal employment to the masses. These initiatives are encouraging. Although they will not completely solve the problem, they are part of the solution.
What we want to remind today is that the link between unemployment and the increase in criminal activities has been well documented. This is not to say that this should be an excuse to validate crime or that every unemployed person will turn to crime as an alternative.
But sadly, some do.
And that’s what we all don’t want.
It should definitely be a motivating factor for all involved to ensure that jobs are made available for people to earn a decent living.
Otherwise they will resort to other means to survive. Ultimately, it comes down to the government and its ability to create jobs. It’s about them attracting the right kind of investors, not ones who only to milk Samoa for what it is worth and then disappear.
Meanwhile, the private sector also has a large role to play. We cannot stress enough the importance of the partnership between the government and the private sector.
The idea is that the government must provide an environment that’s conducive for the private sector to grow and offer more employment opportunities. In other words, the government must make every possible effort to allow the growth of the private sector, rather than hindering its efforts.
The point is that unemployment is a menace we can do without. But it will not go away until the government get serious about reducing it. At the moment, the signs are worrying. And that’s the nagging truth, which continues to stare us in the face, every time we think about unemployment.
A solution? The answer is in agriculture, tourism, fisheries and our intelligent people. But that’s a story for another day.
Write and share your thoughts with us.
Have a blessed Wednesday, Samoa!