17 Feb 2005

Fiji Labour Minister seeks Government funds to assist Gulf job seekers

4:51 pm on 17 February 2005

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, wants the government to set up a 600-thousand US dollar fund to help those seeking jobs in Kuwait and Iraq.

Mr Zinck says the fund would provide loans to applicants who would have to pay it back once they had secured jobs in Kuwait and Iraq.

Mr Zinck will lead a government team, including officials from the Elections Office and foreign affairs, on a fact finding tour of Iraq and Kuwait in two weeks.

So far 474 Fiji men have left for Kuwait to be employed by the Public Warehousing company while just over 500 are employed in Iraq by Global Risk Strategies, Homeland Security and Triple Canopy companies.

But uncertainty surrounds the departure date of anther 450 men, many of whom have resigned from their jobs and are waiting to go.

The Fiji representative of the Public Warehousing Company, Timoci Lolohea, said last month that he would have 5,000 Fijians in Kuwait and Iraq by the middle of February but most of the applicants are still waiting.