The Turkish government’s New Economic Program (NEP) for the 2021-23 period is set to cover policies that will be implemented not only to support economic recovery from the virus crisis and provide sustainable growth in the coming years but are also likely to facilitate the employment of young people and people over a certain age and encourage short-term and flexible working models.
The employment policies and measures in the NEP, announced by Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, are even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Albayrak on Tuesday announced the NEP based on themes of "new stabilization, new normal, and the new economy.”
The unemployment rate is projected to reach 13.8% this year largely due to the pandemic, and 12.9% next year, according to the program, then gradually dropping to 10.9% by 2023.
The Employment Shield Package, included in the economic program, supports economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitates the entry of young people into the labor market by providing them with experience while encouraging short-term work and includes structural regulations regarding the labor market, according to an Anadolu Agency (AA) report Wednesday.
The report stressed that people benefiting from unemployment benefits will be encouraged to reduce their unemployment period and to return to the workforce more quickly with “quick return to work support.”
The program specifically focuses on the employment of young people. Accordingly, more flexible conditions will be provided to facilitate the employment of young people under the age of 25 and employees over the age of 50. It will also facilitate and encourage the transition of full-time employees over 50 to short-term work. This arrangement will enable young people under the age of 25, who work for less than 10 days to be employed more easily, young people will gain experience and skills, and employers will be supported to prefer them for the suitable jobs.
During the NEP period, secondary legislation studies will be completed to increase the applicability of flexible working conditions that are defined in the legislation but cannot find application areas, including remote work especially needed during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Active labor force programs will be launched based on studies carried out to profile registered unemployed people, the AA report said. These programs will be implemented effectively to increase the employability of individuals who receive social assistance.
The content of vocational and technical education along with lifelong learning programs and active workforce programs will be planned to provide the skills that meet the demands of the labor market, to provide qualified human capital and minimize institutional capacity losses, taking into account the future needs of the real sector.
Sector-oriented, on-the-job training programs are set to be organized to meet the need for a qualified workforce in the manufacturing, information and communication sectors, while projects will be carried out in cooperation with related sectors to determine the workforce demands, skills and future professions in areas such as information technologies, e-commerce, entrepreneurship programs, technology-intensive jobs and digital literacy.
Some 1 million citizens who want to have a career in Turkey's ongoing digital transformation process in the field of information technology will also have the opportunity to develop their competencies with free training.
‘Based on macroeconomic realities’
Meanwhile, businesspeople in Turkey welcomed the new economic program for 2021-23, as it aligns with macroeconomic realities.
Nail Olpak, chairman of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), stated that the new program has put forward a new road map that instills confidence in the Turkish business world and private sector.
It is a well-prepared program with duly identified and grounded priorities, he said.
Olpak argued that the new program offers an innovative, value-added, people-oriented and export-based development plan.
"In the last two years, we witnessed the achievement of the targets in the programs announced in general despite the difficult periods," he stressed, adding that the targets in the new program are also achievable.
Also commenting on the program was Ismail Gülle, the head of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM), calling the new plan "extremely consistent" in terms of basic macroeconomic goals given the current situation of both the global and Turkish economy.
He added that the newly unveiled program emphasizes three main objectives: keeping the labor market alive, providing households and businesses with the necessary liquidity and keeping supply chains alive by guaranteeing the continuity of the activities of key sectors.
He also said it is promising that value-added production and gratifying employment are highlighted in the program.
"It is a reasonable scenario for the economic growth rate to be slightly positive in 2020, as envisaged in the new economic program," said Abdurrahman Kaan, the head of Turkey's Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MÜSIAD).
Thus, the economy will not fall too far from the 2021 economic growth target of 5.8% due to the base effect, he added.
"However, for economic growth to be at the level of 5% in the ongoing period, both economic efficiency and productivity should increase," he concluded.
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