Ministry of Finance and National Planning

16 November 2016.

  1. With the announcement made by the Government during the 2016/17 budget’s deliberation in the Legislative Assembly, the World Bank, in responding to the financial and technical assistance request, visited the Kingdom for the last two weeks for a fact finding mission starting the process for implementing the youth employment project.

2. The problems of youth not in education; employment or training are enormous and are starting to have negative ramifications. From measures of individual and household welfare, to self-esteem and confidence issues in young people, and to an emerging issue of youth related anti-social behavior and criminal activity are adverse manifestations related to youth unemployment.

3. The Tongan Government has decided to launch this program to provide the young people with necessary skills to live a meaningful life. The funding for this program is US$15m or about TOP 35 million to be disbursed over a four year period in an effort to address youth unemployment. Additional fund will be sought to add to this initiative. The project is called “PATHWAY FOR TONGAN YOUTH EMPLOYMENT OR HALAFONONGA MA’AE TO’UTUPU ‘A TONGA KE MA’U NGAUE. This project will aim to maximize employment opportunities and income impacts for Tongan youth. The project is expected to become effective in July 2017.

4. The Government through the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and Ministry of Internal Affairs are partnering with the World Bank on this project. The Bank will provide financial resources and technical assistance for implementing this project. The proposed project will work with a broad range of stakeholders in the public, private and non-government sectors, and will to the extent possible, harmonize with other efforts currently underway in the country such as the DFAT funded Tonga Skills project. The project will provide funding to government and non-government technical schools, which will carry out the trainings of the technical skills such as carpentry, seafaring, tourism, nursing and day care, to upgrade their facilities to the standard that the local and overseas accreditation authorities would require.

5. The project objective will be to enhance the employability of Tongan youth for both the domestic and external labor markets. The Government and the Bank have agreed on a broad set of guiding principles which will help in the design of the project and these include inter alia: (i) leveraging existing initiatives to support a harmonized approach, (ii) aligning incentives for training providers, employers, and job-seekers, (iii) maximize employment and income impacts, (iv) focus on disadvantaged groups, (vi) ensure program sustainability, and (vii) support evidence based decision making.

6. Government intervention recognises the huge potentials in our youths that we can develop for the betterment of the country. The project will develop pathways to help our youths find the jobs they want, meeting their career aspirations, and growing our economy.

Issued by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning:  Telephone: 23066; Fax: 24040; P.O. Box 87, Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga: pr-pathway-for-tongan-youth-employment-project-amounting-to-us15m-or-t35m

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