Ministers talk hope, jobs

Growing fresh produce for supermarkets and restaurants, and working for a Taiwanese fishing vessels are two options being offered for the jobless coming out of Yazaki in 2017.

  As the biggest employer in the private sector the closure of the company is a big blow for Samoa and over 700 employees. 

Cabinet Ministers, Lautafi Selafi Purcell and La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao will play crucial roles in the creation of jobs and the expansion of the export market for the agriculture sector. 

With responsibility for the Small Businesses and Enterprises Corporation, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, believes promoting small businesses is vital. 

It doesn’t matter how small a business is but if it employs an average of two people it is definitely a step in the right direction, he said. 

According to Lautafi, creating jobs in the country can be as simple as having your own plantation. 

“If we can have about 100 of those small businesses employing people even if it’s at a small scale of two people; that is employing people,” said the Minister. 

“We have to be innovative in ways to create jobs for our people. You cannot just throw your hands in the air and say Yazaki is gone and that is it. That is the focus of Commerce which is job creations and investments and pushing the private sector to swallow others who will be unemployed after the closure.”

Lautafi pointed out that our people still do not think that farming can be a business and more advocacy in that area is needed. “People think that when you say business you have to have a store,” he explained. 

“But you see farming, craftsmen and fishing is a business. That is the message I urged S.B.E.C. to advocate is to encourage people to use their own land. If they don’t have qualifications there is land to start a plantation and to work together with Agriculture for (technical) assistance…like I said if our people know that there is a market to export their produce it will create employment for others to help expand plantations.”

From a job creating point of view, Lautafi said Samoa is nowhere near being able to supply fresh produce to its local supermarkets. 

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