DODOMA (TANZANIA), Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa launched the National Apprenticeship and Internship Guidelines here, in an event which was also attended by ILO Director for Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, Mary Kawar.

The plan is to address unemployment crisis in the country, he said. While the global figures show that the unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent or some 201 million people, in Tanzania, the numbers stand at 10.3 per cent.

The rate of unemployment among the youth remains relatively high at 11.7 per cent. Unemployment study in Tanzania, published in 2014 indicated that only 20.1 per cent of employed staff had competence skills with a whopping 79.9 per cent working without the needed skills.

We have witnessed a high rate of employers complaining about graduates being incompetent. This has pushed the government to come up with this programme to increase skills to address unemployment crisis, he said.

The Premier explained that the needs to strengthen the workforce are critical and the best way is by improving internship trainings by adopting comprehensive guidelines.

According to Mr Majaliwa, the new guidelines will build employer's confidence and other stakeholders in the job market. It is in line with the government industrial development plans It will boost industrial development and end unemployment, he added.

At least four million youth are expected to benefit in a similar programme launched during the 2016/17 financial year and expected to run for five years. Since its inception early this year, the programme has benefited 11,340 youth covering a wide range of sectors.

Presenting the guidelines, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Jenista Mhagama said the new document is a guide to competency and quality of trained professionals. It also gives conditions on training interns and apprentice.

In addition, the Minister announced that the guidelines provide the need to establish a national committee to regulate and coordinate the programme countrywide.

Trade Union Congress of Tanzania Secretary General, Dr Yahaya Msigwa, lauded the government for initiating the guidelines, but urged immediate relocation of the Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) to the Prime Minister's office from the ministry of education.

His observations were based on the fact that VETA are institutions designed to offer skills and not related with education.

He went on to note, majority learning institutions are striving to be higher learning institutions adding up the gap for mid career professionals. ATE Director General, Dr Aggrey Mlimuka was, however, concerned that there has been an increase in operational costs emanating from, among other things, skills development levy that now stands at 4 per cent.

The neighbouring countries Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda have abolished these unfriendly taxes; Kenya has lowered it to 2 per cent and that it's on the tourism industry We want the government to reconsider this as well, he said.