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Cosatu hails youth subsidy omission

Feb 11 2011 15:26
I-Net Bridge
Johannesburg - Trade union federation Cosatu on Friday said it welcomed the fact that President Jacob Zuma did not mention a youth wage subsidy in his state of the nation address.

Cosatu said the announcement of a youth wage subsidy would merely have acted as a subsidy to employers to replace older workers with younger ones, and deepen the problem of dual labour markets.

"We trust that the minister of finance will not reintroduce this issue in the budget," Cosatu said.

Zuma instead announced R20bn in tax allowances and tax breaks and a R9bn jobs fund, which Cosatu welcomed.

The labour federation called for more information on who would receive the money and tax breaks, and said proper monitoring and evaluation was needed.

Zuma called on the private sector, labour, community organisations, government departments and state-owned enterprises and development finance institutions to help with projects that had the potential to create jobs.

A state-owned mining company, the African Exploration, Mining and Finance Corporation, would be created soon. The company would undertake the mining of minerals of strategic significance.

Cosatu said this was a significant move towards having "the people" and not private businesses benefit from the exploitation of SA's mineral wealth.

The decent work debate continued, with Cosatu saying that jobs created under the expanded public works programme were valuable but no substitute for proper, decent jobs.

It warned that exchange control reforms were likely to increase risks of currency speculation and capital flight, and that capital controls would be better options.

All of the government priorities, in particular job creation, depended on the efficiency of the government and on changing the culture of the public sector, it said.


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