I was at an event in Malwana on Sunday morning, where the final speaker was the Prime Minister, who said that he was going to create jobs for the youth, and just as he did in Biyagama, that he would create 50 more Industrial Zones to provide employment.
I am now convinced that using the unemployment canard is a means that the politician uses to survive in power. If Sri Lanka does not have any unemployment then why would we need any jobs? If we did not promise jobs, there will be no one who will work to elect any politician as they would NOT get a position in return!
So the irony was NOT lost on me, as I work in Biyagama at present, which has 35,000 vacancies in companies both in and out of the BOI zones, and many companies have closed down, especially in the BOI Zone for lack of labor at the price that is competitive for their exports. In short our labor cost is TOO HIGH for certain industries, and we must upgrade the industries to suit the wage that people want. Unless the industries that the PM intends bringing can provide employment at over Rs100,000 a month, we will have to import labor to man those jobs.
I then went to lunch close by, at a home of one of the largest poultry producers in the Country, and he has a huge problem of labor shortage. He is mechanizing every aspect of his business, and is in the process of putting a new line that processes 5,000 chickens an hour. All business decisions are geared to using less labor as they are just so hard to come by. He may even have to use drones to deliver direct to customers, which may be a cheaper way of getting from A TO B only if the Govt. allows, which it does not seem to have a vision to want to do yet!
After that I went to a farm in Kitulagala for the night, and I found out that of the 17 staff who should show up for muster in the morning ONLY 7 turned up. That means the other 10 have other more remunerative work they can do, and will only come to the farm to work as a last resort! What does that tell you? Increasingly even farm labor is hard to find, as people are otherwise engaged in various forms of employment.
What does this imply? We are fooling the population to pay heed to political leaders in the hope that they can provide employment. We don’t need employment we need more productive work, that will provide an income we all want, and can do in a more efficient manner to improve the quality of life of all those who live in this resplendent Island. So when can we expose the politicians as frauds?