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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - VN jobs are priority

VN jobs are priority

HANOI - Unemployment problems are an urgent task for Vietnam's ruling Communist

Party, a top official said on May 9.

"Solving the jobs problem is

central to ensuring safety and social justice in development, and is a central

question in getting out of crisis," Vu Oanh, a member of the party's top body,

the politburo, wrote in an article in the party newspaper Nhan Dan.

Oanh,

who ranks sixth in the politburo and is in charge of "mass mobilization", said

Vietnam's work force of 31.4 million people increases by more than a million

people, or 3.5 percent, every year.

Ten percent of city-dwellers and 2.2

million Vietnamese overall are unemployed, Oanh said. Most of the unemployed are

young and 85 percent unskilled.

His figures indicate an unemployment rate

of 7 percent of the work force - much lower than some official counts of 12

percent or more.-Reuters

third of rural families are poor, he

added.

Millions of unemployed peasants flock into big cities like Hanoi

and Ho Chi Minh City seeking work when they are not engaged in harvesting rice

and other crops. Many end up as casual laborers.

Unemployment is a source

of prostitution, drug addiction and crime, Oanh said.

He said the problem

could not resolved by old-style socialist bureaucratic centralization, or a

Western-style headlong rush abandoning social justice.

"Our country is

now just starting up economically, has little capital and a low technological

base," he said. "But we are rich in labor. So the strategy for solving the jobs

issue must consist of steps to improve economic growth while ensuring social

justice."

Authorities had to develop agriculture, farm industries, light

industry and handicrafts, he said.

Among other solutions many workers are

being sent abroad, mainly to the Middle East and other Asian countries. About

2,000 are going to Libya this year.

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