We need to set our priorities right – Sir Vunagi

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Solomon Islands is a young nation that has a lot of natural resources and young and talented human resources with huge potentials to develop economically and socially.

That’s according to Governor General Sir David Vunagi in his new year’s address to the nation.

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And he said “all we need to do is to set our priorities right.”

He said the nation continue to face the problems of unemployment and urban drift because it have not properly managed the formal and informal sectors.

“Our education system has also not able to define how to meet our manpower needs. I think we have not recognized the importance of vocational training which is appropriate in both the Formal and Informal sectors.

“I believe real development is one that changes the pattern of life that impacts the mass of the population that live in the informal sector,” he said.

Sir Vunagi said during the last forty-one (41) years, I think a lot of emphasis has been placed on the formal sector where only about 20% of the population live and we neglected the informal sector where about 80% of the population live and where the natural resources are.

“Real development cannot be attained just by concentrating on the formal sector.

“One major task that we need to work on is to change the attitude of those who live in the informal sector. “There are people who cannot tell the difference between night and day. They sleep during the night and they sleep during the day.

“There is no sense of purpose in life – no organized work program for the day. They spend the day as if there is nothing to do. This is the main problem that affect the informal sector.

“If everybody has a sense of purpose and positive attitude in life development and growth would not be issues. Opportunities that are available to those in the formal sector. That means people who live in the informal sector do not have to come to the urban areas to get their basic needs.

“Our task is to reverse the unproductive pattern of life style that is happening in the informal sector and to do that we need to get our emphasis right. We must watch out for the positive indicators.

“School leavers and university graduates should not only look for jobs in the formal sector where it is already saturated. Rather they should be encouraged to create jobs and this can be easily done in the informal sector where the natural resources are.

“That leads me to say that school leavers who cannot find jobs in the urban centers should be encouraged to develop the subsistence life style to get economic benefits for themselves.

“If we did that, I am sure we can reduce unemployment, reduce inequality in social and economic areas and reverse urban drift and help our young people to realize that there is plenty of useful things to do in the informal sector,” Sir Vunagi added.  

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