Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Brunei Town

Call for adoption of ‘hire locals first’ policy

The rising unemployment issue needs to be addressed by policies that can create a market that provides locals with decent jobs, where they can acquire new skills.

With public projects such as the National Housing Scheme (RPN) resuming construction, I believe it is high time for the authorities to re-negotiate a term that ensures the hiring of local jobseekers by enforcing the ‘locals first’ policy for companies that want to earn a government contract of over BND250,000.

Such a policy is quite common around the world. Take for example Singapore, where the government negotiated heavily with contractors for the construction of Marina Bay Sands (MBS), resulting in a win-win situation. As of 2019, MBS had employed over 20,000 workers, 65 per cent of which were locals.

By incorporating the policy into government projects, the Sultanate would be able to tackle the unemployment rate while ensuring that locals are engaged in productive pursuits, such as plumbing, scaffolding, trucking and brick layering.

It would also provide locals with the opportunity to elevate their standard of living through a fixed income while gaining valuable know-how to someday set up their own business ventures.

The policy would also allow public money to be recirculated within the economy, thus ensuring sustainable growth and long-term development for all.

Bob Si Pembina

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