This year’s orator, Ambassador Charles Minor, has called on the government and future governments to create what he termed “pivotal opportunities” for young Liberians in the country’s economic activities.
Citing an example of this, the Ambassador said one of such businesses that could become “pivotal” and available to young Liberians leaving junior colleges and universities is the building industries and building material stores.
Speaking at the country’s 168th Independence Day program held in Greenville, Sinoe County on Monday, he said the country has been witnessing a surge in the building industries, although the Real Estate Market appears to be plummeting to some extent, everywhere but there is hardly any Liberian ownership.
.“The main building material shops employ Liberians all right, but they are primarily, material handlers, while the upper classes of store attendants: the clerks, warehouse keepers, book keepers are non-Liberians of hardly any technical or educational background greater than Liberians leaving junior colleges and universities,” he observed.
He pointed out, “These young, mainly unskilled foreign workers with only the ability to use the calculators and write in English are given work and resident permits while our graduates remain un-employed.”
As a result, the former Ambassador to the United States said that “Resident and Work Permits for foreigners who are not investing in our economy and who do not possess critical skills in demand, should be gradually but significantly curtailed.”
Equally, he said government should expand the scholarship programs and budgets to cover, in addition to academic fees and books, monitoring of scholarship students’ character, ethical conduct, deportment, commitment to work and work attitude amongst other traits for about two years prior to graduation.
He said the programs and budget also cover reasonable monies for bonds and sureties for students with good prospects for work in business and that at the completion of their studies, scholarship students should attend job fairs to prepare them for the job market. He added that business houses that complain that some Liberians cannot be trusted or lack work attitude, would then have no excuse employing recent graduates who come in with good character reference and bonds, just in case.
Ambassador Minor said the Graduates should be encouraged to start at the bottom of the ladder to learn every possible trick of the trade so that, in three to four years, just as foreign workers who come here do, they too can start their own businesses.
The orator intimated, “With the track record from the past two years at school, good work experience having been employed in the business and with good knowledge of the particular business, financial institutions would have little problems investing in such young people. This would indeed offer pivotal opportunities and the young people deserve to have them.”
He went on: “Pursuing economic rights for all our people is a compelling urgency and the capacity to be able to take advantage of the opportunities when they come must be given priority and to do so, he said, we must step up our capacity building endeavors, not just by the Government but private businesses must be given the incentives to also join efforts in this regard. Large and medium size businesses should be provided the incentives to train Liberian workers not just for their own needs but for the job market.”