Fri, May 24, 2002 - Page 2 News List

PFP urges military to help scale back unemployment

CNA , TAIPEI

Legislators of the opposition PFP yesterday urged the Ministry of National Defense to allow civilians to do certain manual jobs to help ease unemployment.

At a press conference, Legislator Ku Chung-lien (顧祟廉) suggested that military agencies, bases and barracks set aside 3 percent of their maintenance funds for basic operations or administrative expenses to hire local people who have lost their jobs or are middle-aged or older.

Ku, a former navy commander-in-chief, suggested that the military should provide jobs earning a monthly salary of between NT$20,000 and NT$25,000 for six months starting in July.

Unemployment in April was 4.98 percent, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said. The rate was over 5 percent in the first three months of this year.

Ku said that the six-month contracts should be extended if unemployment remained high.

The ministry would have to carefully examine the possible negative impacts of the scheme, Ku said, such as leaving military personnel idle.

PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said at least 10,000 jobs should be created.

Liu said that streamlining the military is unavoidable and that an overstaffed military would put a strain on the nation's finances.

He said that if the military provides job opportunities for the unemployed, this will not only help streamline the military, it would also help military personnel serve according to their specialties.

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