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OPA laments graduates of passing out without required skills demanded by job market

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The Organization of Professional Associations says that every year around 60,000 graduates without employable skills join the growing number of unemployed persons.Addressing a press conference at the OPA headquarters in Colombo last week, OPA President Dulitha Perera said the country’s unemployment rate increased to 5.70 percent in March 2021, from the previously reported 5.20 percent in Dec 2020.

Sri Lanka Unemployment Rate is updated quarterly, available from Jun 2012 to Mar 2021, with an average rate of 4.50 %. Currently around 100,000 join the unemployed number annually. They are composed of around 300,000 youth passing out of schools after A/L examination and 30,000 graduates passing out from state universities. In addition there are about 5,000 graduates passing out from private and international universities, technically qualified diplomats and other qualifications, tertiary and vocational training institutions join the unemployed lot annually.Perera predicted that these numbers may increase during next two to three years due to the advancement of technology.

Past OPA President, Dr. Lalith Wijetunge said the latest statistics from the Department of Census and Statistics reveal that the country’s unemployed population rose by 100,000 during the first quarter of 2020, coinciding with the start of the lockdowns. It also indicates more job losses in the coming months, while those who are unemployed will be desperate to find new jobs to survive in this time of uncertainty.

Dr. Wijetunge said that majority of graduates do not have adequate skills as the industry expected. “There is no generally accepted definition of graduate employability. Researchers have critically reviewed the graduates’ unemployment in Sri Lanka. There are skills mismatch, education mismatch. The lack of coordination and cooperation among the various stakeholders of universities become a root cause for unemployment of graduates,” he said.

Dr. Wijetunge said that unemployment rate among the Sri Lankan graduates passing out from the state Universities is high, compared to other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The average overall employability ratio of Universities in Sri Lanka is 54 percent. The Faculties of Arts and Management have higher rates of unemployment in the country and accounted for 76% and 36% of unemployed graduates respectively, whereas Medicine and Engineering accounted for 10% and 7% respectively in 2012.

“These statistics clearly indicates the waste of time and energy of the educated youths as well as the skilled youths. The rulers should take immediate action to solve the crisis. Now the private sector organizations have expressed their willingness to help solve this issue by providing jobs on a part time basis for a considerable portion of the unemployed youth. That solution has no burden on Government, employer or the employee. Many other countries have used this solution. It would suit Lanka only if the Government can administer the solution in a proper way,” he said.



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Power crisis: Udaya asks govt. not to repeat GR’s blunders

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Warns of 12 to 14 hour power cuts by March if preventive action is not taken now

By Rathindra Kuruwita

There could be 12-14 hour power cuts in March next year, Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) MP and Udaya Gammanpila warned yesterday in Colombo.

“Actually, the situation could become worse than next year because we are also running out of coal. About 35 percent of electricity is generated by Norochcholai Coal Power Plant Complex. We had enough coal this year. However, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) says that there is enough coal for two more months,” he said.

January to March is the dry season in the wet zone and therefore the electricity produced through hydro power drops, he said. This is an annual occurrence, he said.

“In January 2022, there was a meeting on power cuts under the chairmanship of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. I said the dry season is upon us and that water levels of reservoirs are dropping. I said if we start a three hour power cut now, we can keep the power cuts to five hours at the height of the dry season. If we do not start now, we will have to implement 12 hour cuts in March. Only one Additional General Manager of CEB agreed with me. Most officials were silent. President Gotabaya and other ministers decided not to cut power,” he said.

Gammanpila said that this led to 12 to 13 hour power cuts in March and people were compelled to come onto the roads. Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to flee the country and the government collapsed, he said.

“The dry season will start again in a month. The situation in 2023 will be worse than 2022 because we had enough coal until July 2022. We now have coal reserves to last two months. Developed countries will start purchasing more oil and coal because of the winter. Price of oil will go up. We won’t have enough dollars. Things would be worse,” he said.Gammanpila urged the Ranil Wickremesinghe administration to listen to experts and take steps to manage demand.

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Govt. under fire for insufficient fund allocation for industries

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By Saman Indrajith

The government had allocated only eight billion rupees for capital expenditure of the Ministry of Industries, SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana said in Parliament on Wednesday.

“The government talks about food security. But only six billion rupees has been allocated for the Ministry of Food Security. The government has allocated a pittance to these important ministries and talented individuals have been sidelined,” he said.

MP Pathirana said that the government must first formulate policies to develop industries, ensure food security and promote exports.

“President Ranil Wickremesighe is a former a minister of industries. He was not able to come up with an industrial policy. I tried to formulate one but we lost the election in 2019. Nothing has happened since then.Minister of Trade, Commerce and Food Security, Nalin Fernando said that Sathosa was also facing issues due to increased interest rates.

“Sathosa has been a burden to the Treasury for a while, but we have been addressing the issue. We look at the prices in supermarkets and mark our prices accordingly. We sell essential commodities at discounted prices,” he said.

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MSD constable deployed for cricket match duty arrested with heroin

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By Samanthi Weerasekera

The Kandy Police have arrested a constable deployed for duty at the limited overs encounter between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan at Pallekele stadium with 80 milligrams of heroin on Wednesday.The policeman attached to the ministerial security division (MSD)

was arrested near the Kandy Central Market.The suspect had arrived in Kandy on 21 November to provide security for the Cricket match.

The suspect, 24, is a resident of Ruwanwella. He had joined the police in July 2021.

 

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