Referring to the rising unemployment rate, the Financial Secretary, Mr Antony Leung said, after chairing the 29th meeting of the Task Force on Employment today (March 18) that the Government would continue to improve business environment so as to facilitate job creation.
"As I have mentioned in the Budget, the Government will actively promote the development of local community economy in order to enhance employment opportunities", Mr Leung said.
"Since local community economy covers a wide range of activities, the Government will solicit views from the community through various channels. At this afternoon's meeting, members of the Task Force on Employment have made many valuable suggestions for our thorough consideration," he said.
"Promotion of local community economy mainly relies on market force, while the Government will implement appropriate policies to facilitate its development. To this end, I have convened an inter-bureau working group to explore ways to better coordinate its implementation," Mr Leung added.
Mr Leung also briefed members on the Youth Work Experience and Training Scheme to be administered by the Labour Department. The Scheme aims to enhance the employment prospects of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 through work experience and on-the-job training opportunities. Employers will receive a monthly training subsidy of about $2,000 where they offer on-the-job training of between six months and one year to young people.
"I appeal to employers to actively support this Scheme so that more opportunities will be available for our young people".
"I also urge our young people to make full use of this Scheme to better equip themselves for future employment", Mr Leung said.
The Financial Secretary proposed, under his first Budget Speech, to set aside $400 million for the implementation of the Scheme which will run for two years and provide on-the-job training places for up to 10,000 participants.
Members were also briefed about the enforcement action taken by the Labour Department and jointly with Immigration Department and the Police to combat illegal employment. The Labour Department will enhance its enforcement strategy in the light of experience in combating illegal employment, with a view to safeguarding employment opportunities for local workers.
End/ Monday, March 18, 2002