> Hong Kong
Job creation initiatives spelled out
By Louise Ho (HK Edition)
Updated: 2009-02-26 07:34

One of Financial Secretary John Tsang's major initiatives in yesterday's budget was the announcement that the government would spend HK$1.6 billion to create 62,000 jobs and internships in the coming three years.

He stressed the government would not reduce its expenditures because of the economic downturn.

"The government wants to create as many jobs as possible with the least amount of resources," he said.

He has earmarked HK$400 million to enhance the employment training program for the young, the middle-aged and the disabled.

The Labour Department will help those who lost jobs during the financial crisis. Assistance to be provided includes the creation of job referral services to help unemployed individuals find jobs as soon as possible.

The initiatives are expected to benefit 44,000 people over the next two years.

The government will expend HK$140 million to help college students find jobs. An internship program is to be ready for launch by mid year.

The program will offer 4,000 internship positions among locally based or mainland based enterprises for a term extending from six to 12 months.

Apart from helping people find jobs, Tsang has also announced plans to create jobs for the maintenance of buildings, and for publicity and education programs.

The government hopes to create 10,200 jobs in the next two years arising from two initiatives on building maintenance.

One is the introduction of a two-year campaign for maintenance of 1,000 dilapidated buildings. The program, in cooperation with the Hong Kong Housing Society and the Urban Renewal Authority, will draw from a HK$700 million fund.

Elderly building owners will be eligible for fully subsidized maintenance services to a ceiling of HK$40,000.

Another building-related initiative will carry out work aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of government buildings and public facilities.

Another 2,800 jobs will be created to promote Hong Kong as an events capital for Asia. Hong Kong will act as host for events covering the arts, traditional culture and sports over the next three years.

The government hopes to generate another 500 jobs through a one-year educational program to teach students how to use the Internet safely.

Commissioner for Labour Cherry Tse dismissed suggestions that employers would exploit graduates.

She said that based upon her past experience, employers can be expected to provide attractive salaries to recruit talent according to market conditions.

(HK Edition 02/26/2009 page1)