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Easing pressure; Govt launches program to tackle unemployment, insecurity

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By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: In order to improve law and order situation in the country, the government has launched the National Employment Program to create jobs by supporting the agriculture sector.

President Ashraf Ghani launched the program on Tuesday that would provide jobs to thousands of people if implemented in letter and spirit.

The president said that conflict was not the only major problem in Afghanistan but weak economy and unemployment are equally affecting people. Ghani furthered that after decrease in number of foreign troops and organizations in the country, joblessness increased. Shrinking international cooperation has put negative impact on Afghan economy and affected common people further.

Regarding the newly launched employment program, he said that main purpose of the program is creating new job opportunities, adding that the government would try its best to provide jobs to rural and urban people equally.

Ghani said the government is committed to improve agriculture sector and irrigation system as well as provide financial support to farmers to create jobs.

He said that the government allocated sufficient funds to support the agriculture sector which is a key objective of the employment program.

“The program will cover 4,700 villages today. It will be expanded to 15,000 villages in the beginning of new solar year [March 2016]. Thousands of jobless people will be hired to clean the cities as part of the program,” the president said.

He underlined that for resolving financial problems there is need for fundamental reforms. Ghani went on to say that in the next autumn the government wants to double the electricity productions. Currently, Afghanistan produces 231MW. The country will generate 240MW electricity in the next autumn.

President Ghani said that next year around 17 small and big dams would be constructed in 17 provinces of the country which would create job opportunities for 25,000 people.

He said that Afghans are tired of wars as they had rendered many sacrifices in the proxy war and in the fight against terrorism, adding that Afghanistan can no longer be dependent on foreign aid. He said that it was time for the country to stand on its own feet.

It is worth to mention that unemployment has been responsible for drug addiction.

The Ministry of Counter Narcotics in a report released in July 2015 said that unemployment and easy access to drugs are the main factors behind return of people to addiction after rehabilitation.

At least 465 people in 39 addicts’ rehabilitation centers have been interviewed in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Balkh, Badakhshan and Nangarhar provinces during the survey.

Minister of Counter Narcotics, Salamat Azimi, said that after the rehabilitation, 22 percent of people have been pushed back into drug addiction by unemployment, 19 percent by friendship with addicts and 16 percent by easy access to drugs.

Billions of dollars have been funneled into this war-wracked country yet extreme poverty, joblessness and the signs of war are quite visible in every nook and cranny of the country. Poverty and inequality are considered as preconditions for militancy.