MSME Conference Features 50 Entrepreneurs: All Get Business Training, 1-year Tax Clearance

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will today, November 17, officially open the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Small Business Administration (SBA) flagship 2015 Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Conference in Monrovia.The conference will bring together 50 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) from all over Liberia. All 50 SMEs exhibiting at the fair will receive The World Bank Group business edge training and a one-year year tax clearance to facilitate contracts.The conference is also intended to showcase the Innovation Hall where young entrepreneurs will showcase their products with awards for the best innovators. This year’s Annual MSME Conference is the flagship of the Ministry of Commerce SBA with support from the Government of Japan, in partnership with USAID-Fed, Lone Star Cell MTN, Building Markets, IBEX-Liberia, Single Sparks, Business Start-up Center and the Agency for Economic Development and Empowerment (AEDE). Other supporters include Ecobank-Liberia, LBDI, the West African Venture Fund, Global Bank Liberia Limited, etc.The President, who will be accompanied by her Cabinet, members of the Legislature and the Judiciary, will address over five hundred Liberian owned business men and women, business executives, local and international partners, diplomatic corps, youths and cross-section of people at the Monrovia City Hall. The theme for this year’s conference is “From Vision to Implementation, Buying Liberian, Building Liberia,” with special focus on youth innovation for economic empowerment.Serving as keynote speaker is a young Liberian entrepreneur and Bronson Fellow, Mr. Mahmud Johnson, general manager of J-Palm, a palm oil manufacturing company that utilizes made-in-Liberia technology and innovation to deliver high quality palm oil on the Liberian market.Since its inception in 2013, the SBA MSME Conference has focused on different topics and allowed SMEs to explore partnerships and receive financing to expand their operations. The conference has facilitated over US$1 million in investments in SMEs with new innovations such as the Liberia Innovation Fund for entrepreneurs and the Liberian Marketplace. Each year the conference has a specific focus. Last year various topics were covered, including ‘Entrepreneurship Development, Access to Finance and Access to Markets.’Like last year, this year, all 50 SMEs that exhibit in the fair will receive The World Bank Group business edge training and a one-year year tax clearance to facilitate contracts. In 2014, “Agriculture” was the topic where the President issued Executive Order #64 under which SMEs in the agriculture sector benefited from tariff exemption on certain agricultural equipment or implements.This year’s conference will be a capacity building conference, networking and business linkage event, aimed at providing a forum for Liberian youth to participate in a comprehensive E-Plus/business plan competition for emerging starts up MSMEs.It will select the First Class of E-Plus Entrepreneurs to benefit from the Liberian Innovative Fund for Entrepreneurs (LIFE-Fund) and World Bank Group Business Edge Training. The E-Plus First Class will go through entrepreneurship development and mentoring for a two year period and each entrepreneur will receive up to US$10,000 to start their businesses. The conference will be climaxed with the award dinner on November 18 to be followed by the Liberian Experience Concert and Wear Your Pride Fashion.In a related development, in celebration of the passing of the Intellectual Property Law and various treaties, a special concert organized by Blue Links Promotions artists will pay tribute to Liberian legends Miatta Fahnbulleh, Tecumsay Roberts, Zack and Gebah among others on November 18th at the Monrovia City Hall Theatre from 9pm to 11:00PM. During the performance, the Wear Your Pride promoting young designers’ use of the Lofa (Country) Cloth will take place, organized by Hon. Munah P. Youngblood, where students and are encouraged to participate.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Around Whittier

first_imgMONTEBELLO – The city allows garage sales in residential areas four times per year. One is scheduled between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sept. 7-9. Permits are not required, but there are regulations for those conducting garage sales. Along with holding a sale between the stated hours, all items for sale or used as part of the event must be kept on private property and not invade into neighboring properties or the public right-of-way. No more than one sign may be displayed on the premises for the purpose of advertising the sale. Placement of signs on public property is prohibited. The next garage sale is scheduled for Dec. 7-9. For information, call the Montebello Fire Department’s code enforcement division at (323) 887-1490. No trash service on Labor Day SANTA FE SPRINGS – The city reminds its residents there will be no trash collection Monday due to the observance of Labor Day. Trash collection will be conducted one day late the entire week, with Friday service on Saturday. For more information, call your local waste hauler. DUI checkpoint set for Friday night WHITTIER – Whittier police will be keeping an eye out for drunken drivers and anyone driving without a license or a suspended license Friday. The department will conduct a DUI checkpoint in the area of Telegraph Road and Bloomfield Avenue from 10 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday. Officers will also be checking for unlicensed motorists or those who are driving with a suspended driver license. Anyone found driving with an invalid license may have their vehicle impounded for 30 days and be issued a citation. The checkpoint and other enforcement efforts are part of the Police Department’s efforts that coincides with the national “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” campaign and California’s “Report Drunk Driving – Call 911” public message. The program is paid for by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information, call Sgt. Dan Lowe at (562)945-8256 City Council meeting canceled WHITTIER – The City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m. today has been canceled. The cancellation is because of a lack of a quorum, meaning not enough council members can attend the meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 11, when the council is expected to consider plans to redevelop the former Alpha Beta site at the southeast corner of Hadley Street and Comstock Avenue. Preschool program accepting children SANTA FE SPRINGS – The State Preschool Program is now accepting applications for its program available from 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday beginning in September. The program is designed to provide early learning experiences for children 31/2 to 5 years old. Priority is given to families who live or work in Santa Fe Springs and meet low-income requirements. There is no charge for families who qualify. Enrollment is limited. Call (944) 641-9669 to place your child on the waiting list. Film screening to promote literacy WHITTIER – A fundraiser for the literacy program at Vail High School in Montebello will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday at Whittier Village Cinemas, 7038 Greenleaf Ave., with a screening of the movie “Hairspray.” Tickets are $25 per person, and include soda and a bag of popcorn. Anyone wearing ’50s or ’60s clothing will also receive a special gift. To purchase tickets or for more information, call Adele Levy at (323) 887-7900, ext.4825, or the Montebello Unified School District superintendent’s office at (323)887-7900, Ext. 2201. – From staff reports 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

West Ham could turn to Napoli ace after missing out on THREE strikers

first_img1 Manolo Gabbiadini Stoke City have dropped their interest in Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini, paving the way for West Ham to make an approach.It is understood Gabbiadini is considering his future in Italy after only making four Serie A starts for the club last term.Stoke were said to be in advanced talks with Napoli for the 24-year-old but, according to Sky Italia, Mark Hughes’ side have dropped out of the race after failing to agree a fee.That may allow West Ham to step up their pursuit, with the Hammers becoming increasingly desperate to recruit a frontman having had bids for Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette and Callum Wilson all fail.Napoli would prefer to keep hold of Gabbiadini as they look to maintain their squad depth for their Champions League campaign.But the prospect of playing in the Premier League and earning a better salary means the striker is likely to want to talk to West Ham.last_img read more

How Liverpool could line up in 2017 – including highly-rated £20m-rated forward

first_img Centre-back: Joel Matip – The signing of the 25-year-old looks like one of the bargains of the summer. A free transfer from Schalke, Cameroon international Matip has slotted straight into the centre of defence, forming an impressive partnership with Dejan Lovren. 11 Jurgen Klopp will already be making plans for the January transfer window, with his eyes firmly on the Premier League title.The Reds are currently second in the Premier League, just a point behind leaders Chelsea after 13 games.But they now face their toughest test yet, after star playmaker Philippe Coutinho was ruled out of action for up to six weeks.Klopp’s side have a wealth of talent in attack and now it is time for them to step up in the Brazilian’s absence.Not only could they be without Coutinho for a while, they will also have to play without Sadio Mane for around a month. The 24-year-old, who has slotted seamlessly into Klopp’s side since joining from Southampton, will go to the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal in January.READ MORE: Liverpool FC news: Seven ways Jurgen Klopp’s side could line up in Philippe Coutinho’s absenceRecent reports have linked Liverpool with a move for Celtic’s highly-rated Moussa Dembele, one of Europe’s most in form forwards.Some outlets suggest Klopp is so keen on the Frenchman, he has sent scouts to watch the former Fulham man on FIVE occasions, with a view to submitting a January bid.So, if Coutinho fails to make an instant comeback Mane’s Senegal reach the latter stages of the Cup of Nations and Dembele moves to Anfield, how could Liverpool line up in the second half of the season?Click the right arrow, above, to see a possible Liverpool XI in Klopp’s preferred 4-3-3 formation…See also:Brendan Rodgers on talkSPORT in November: Celtic boss says club is not interested in selling Moussa Dembele right now amid reported interestLISTEN: Liverpool are ‘an all-round scoring team’ and can cope without Philippe Coutinho, Ian Rush tells talkSPORTLiverpool FC news: Jurgen Klopp insists Reds can deal with Philippe Coutinho’s absence through injury 11 Right-back: Nathaniel Clyne – The England defender is a key man for the Reds down the right-hand side. Despite Trent Alexander-Arnold’s emergence, the former Southampton and Crystal Palace star is the first choice in his position having made it his own at Anfield in recent years. He has started all 13 of their league games this term. Forward: Divock Origi – The Belgian could get his chance to shine once Mane leaves for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. He has shown glimpses of his ability, such as a opening the scoring in the recent win over Sunderland. Will this be the making of the 21-year-old? Forward: Moussa Dembele (Celtic) – The 20-year-old has hit the ground running since moving to Parkhead on a free transfer in the summer. He has netted 17 goals in 27 appearances this term and some of Europe’s biggest clubs have already started circling. Liverpool hope to win the race for his signature by paying him four times his current £15,000 a week wage, according to Glasgow Live. 11 Goalkeeper: Loris Karius – click the right arrow, above, to see how Liverpool could line up in the second half of the season… – The German glovesman, who arrived in the summer from Jurgen Klopp’s former club Mainz, is Liverpool’s number one. He has showed his potential, but also moments of madness, with nervy handling when collecting crosses. 11 Left-back: James Milner – Klopp made a clear statement at the start of the campaign by opting to go with versatile Milner at left-back instead of Alberto Moreno. In doing so, Milner has performed extremely well and the German may be persuaded to keep him there for the rest of the season at least. The right footer positions himself well and gets forward at every opportunity. He is also their reliable penalty taker, with five from the spot this term. 11 11 Centre-back: Dejan Lovren – With Matip and Lovren at the centre of defence, Klopp may have solved Liverpool’s problems at the back. With his first choice back five of Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren and James Milner, the Reds have only conceded twice, according to Empire of the Kop. Lovren still has a mistake in him, but he finally looks settled on Merseyside. 11 Midfield: Jordan Henderson – The Reds captain has been one of the club’s most consistent performers this term. His passing statistics are impressive and among the best in Europe. He leads by example and has done brilliantly since taking the armband after Steven Gerrard’s departure in 2015. Midfield: Emre Can – The German has proved a key part of the midfield, recently playing his 100th game for the club. It is easy to forget he is still just 22 years old and he performs both his defensive and attacking duties well. 11 Midfield: Adam Lallana – It is fair to say the 28-year-old is one of the club’s most improved players this season. He has added goals to his game and is technically brilliant on the ball. With Philippe Coutinho injured, Lallana’s return will be a relief to Klopp and he will be vital for the rest of the campaign. 11 11 11 Forward: Roberto Firmino – The Brazilian has been preferred to Daniel Sturridge in leading the line for the Reds this season. If Dembele came in, he may have to push further out wide, but Liverpool’s front three is so interchangeable throughout 90 minutes. The 25-year-old has scored six times in 14 appearances this term and he is a vital part of the Merseysiders’ campaign.last_img read more

The Ride to Rhodes experience

first_img26 June 2009On Saturday, 20 June 2009, the town of Rhodes, located in the southern Drakensberg in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, welcomed a group of tired but exhilarated Freedom Challenge cyclists after a 500-kilometre ride that started in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal a week before.The Ride to Rhodes is an annual six-day race that takes adrenalin-seekers on a rugged but awesomely beautiful mountain biking trail from Pietermaritzburg to Rhodes.The day the cyclists arrived in Rhodes was wintry, with snow on the mountain; the local pub’s roaring fire was a happy welcome to the battered and bruised but happy group of men and women. All dressed in their bright red Freedom Challenge jerseys, they laughed together as they shared stories of their recent adventure.Experience of a lifetimeTwo of the older adventurers, Gavin Greig and Rodney Milford, had an experience of a lifetime.At one point, on the ride from Centocow to Ntsikeni Nature Reserve, they fell far behind and by midnight, after 19 hours of cycling, with the temperature having dropped to minus-three, they just couldn’t go on.A tiny mud hut presented itself, and they knocked on the door. It was opened warily by a nervous lady, but when she saw their plight she welcomed them into her tiny home.Two children were sleeping in the kitchen and she in her bedroom. She immediately made them tea and went to sleep with her children in the kitchen, giving up her bed for the tired and weary men. They were overcome by her generosity, and collapsed into bed and slept until morning.They woke to the smell of mealiepap (maize porridge) that she had made for their breakfast. It was an act of incredible kindness, and one has to wonder how many would, without question, allow two complete strangers into their home at midnight and give up their bed for them!Chatting in the pub after finishing the ride, Milford said: “The fast pace of today’s city life means we don’t take enough time to be truly human. That old woman’s act of kindness really affected me, because I know how rarely such generosity occurs in our ‘normal’ lives.”Stunning sceneryThe Freedom Challenge trail takes the cyclists off-road through some of the most stunning scenery one can see anywhere, never mind in South Africa. The route includes a quick stop at the Centocow Mission Station.Founded in 1892 by the Trappist monk Abbot Francis Pfanner, Centocow treated the famed watercolour artist Gerard Bhengu for tuberculosis when he was a young boy. Dr Max Kohler, who practiced at Centocow from 1925 to 1935, was responsible for discovering Bhengu and encouraging him to paint.While the Ride to Rhodes route is 500 kilometres in distance, it is a particularly testing 500 kilometres, with many tortuous climbs that seem never-ending, winding up and up on slippery tracks and stony dirt roads. However, the fantastic views at the top of each mountain are more than reward for the huge effort and determination needed to ascend each challenging peak.The highest pass in South AfricaNaude’s Nek, the final climb before Rhodes, is without doubt the ultimate mountain climb for cyclists. As the highest pass in South Africa, the ride up is precarious, as is speeding down the dirt road on the other side that winds its way into Rhodes.The vast views are indescribably beautiful, but the riders must keep their eyes on the trail or face potentially disastrous consequences.The challenge is, at times, enough to make cause many a gut check, but afterwards those who have conquered it speak about the “soul” of the ride. It’s more than just a race – it’s a journey into South Africa, its far-flung places and people, as well a unique personal challenge.Carine Reyneke, a business analyst and first-time rider in the Ride to Rhodes, commented afterwards: “It’s the people, the craziness of us all, and coming together for a short period of time to experience something few cyclists ever have the opportunity to share. I will definitely be back again.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

South Africa at the 2010 Shanghai Expo

first_imgThe South African pavilion at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China Themed Ke Nako! Or “It’s Time”, South Africa’s pavilion at the Shanghai Expo has opened its doors to visitors wanting to learn more about what modern-day South Africa has to offer.The Shanghai Expo’s theme of “Better City, Better Life” is embodied in South Africa’s stunning pavilion with a design inspired by a traditional Southern African rondavel round house, interpreted in a modern way fusing traditional designs with modern materials.The Pavilion invites visitors on a journey which is truly South African with experiences ranging from traditional artefacts, to world-class wines and modern urban living solutions.The expo runs from 1 May till 31 OctoberMonthly themesEach month, the Pavilion will promote a different theme including the 2010 Fifa World Cup; re-modelling of urban communities; tourism and heritage; environment and climate change; and trade and investment.South Africa will profile its economy by introducing some of South Africa’s pillar industries including agro-processing, beneficiated metals and mining technology, defence technology, ICT, as well as bio-fuels and alternative energy.As the fourth Expo which South Africa has participated in, it is also the largest Expo ever held. With nearly 300 pavilions covering an area of 5.28 square kilometers, Shanghai Expo is expected to attract over 100 million visitors.The pavilion was formally opened this week by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at a ceremony attended to by the department’s deputy director-general for Middle East and Asia Sisa Ngombane, South African Ambassador to China N Ntshinga and South African consul-general in Shanghai Vika Khumalo.Key strategic partnerIn what is seen as the biggest demonstration to date of South Africa’s view of China as a strategic partner, Nkoana-Mashabane’s visit is the first of a series of high level visits expected during Shanghai Expo.As a key strategic partner for South Africa within the South-South cooperation, the bilateral relationship with China is at its strongest since formal diplomatic relations were established between the two in 1998.Positioned as a gateway to Africa for investment and trade from China, participation at Shanghai Expo becomes relevant when considering that in 2009 the total trade between China and Africa amounted to over US$106-billion, an increase of 45% over the previous year, of which South Africa accounted for 20%.Meanwhile, China’s imports from Africa amounted to $56-billion, an increase of 54% over the previous year.last_img read more

India, not UAE, may host Pak series in December

first_imgPCB chairman Shaharyar Khan (left) discussed the upcoming India-Pakistan series with his BCCI counterpart Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata on Sunday.The India-Pakistan cricket series, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, might after all be held in India.According to sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is not averse to sending its team to India if the circumstances don’t allow the series to be played in the UAE.And, as if to lend credibility to the talk of India hosting the series, PCB’s official broadcaster TEN Sports – which won the five-year deal in April along with Pakistan TV for a reported $150 million – said on Wednesday that it would have no objection if the series was moved out of the UAE.If Pakistan eventually tours India, the two boards will have to thrash out a formula to share revenue – an option that former BCCI president N. Srinivasan had declined a few years ago when PCB wanted to host its ‘home’ series in India.PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who spent four days in India seeking clearance for the series, is believed to have discussed this option among the several issues that were taken up during his meetings with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, secretary Anurag Thakur, and Union Minister Arun Jaitley, among others.”They [PCB] are ready to play in India, if that is what would be required. He [Khan] gave hints towards that during his meetings with us,” the BCCI source told Mail Today.advertisementIt is PCB’s turn to host India, but due to political reasons and opposition to its broadcaster, it may not be able to stage the matches. No high-ranking team has toured Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009.Since then, the PCB has opted to play all its ‘home’ series in the UAE. Now, India are scheduled to play two Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals in December. But there is still uncertainty all around about India travelling to the UAE, where the first leg of the IPL was successfully staged last year.During his stay in India, Khan had exuded confidence of getting the government green signal for the series.Thakur, however, said on Wednesday that the government has still not cleared the tour.”Met the president of the Pakistan Cricket Board in Delhi today [Wednesday]. We discussed some issues. Dialogue has just started, much needs to be decided upon. After the two boards finalise the dates and the venues, we’ll go to the government for permission,” Thakur was quoted as saying by ANI.The alternate arrangement of India hosting the series would mean that the BCCI and the PCB will have to work out a revenue-sharing formula to the satisfaction of both parties. Also, a broadcaster will need to be chosen. BCCI’s official broadcaster is STAR Sports.BCCI has objection to PCB’s official broadcaster TEN Sports, owned by Zee, which is apparently planning a global cricket event, rivalling the ICC.But on Wednesday TEN Sports said that it would not have any objection if the series was held in India.”That would be the PCB’s decision, and being our partner we’ve to stand by them. There’s no question of a protest. In the last 12-14 years that we’ve worked with the PCB, we’ve found them very transparent, ethical and high on moral ground – always,” Rajesh Sethi, Global Head of TEN Sports and CEO Taj Television, told MAIL TODAY.When pointed out that TEN Sports stands to lose revenue if the series was not held in the UAE, Sethi said: “Absolutely…but what can I do if my board [PCB] is not hosting a series?”Sethi explained: “It works both ways. If you go into the legal arrangement and financial guarantees in place contractually, if the PCB is the host board, obviously it’ll raise an invoice on me and I’ll have to pay the rights fee. That’s how boards make money. But if a series is not held, the PCB also loses money.”qaiser.ali@mailtoday.inlast_img read more

Neymar on the spot as awe-inspiring Paris Saint-Germain demolish Bordeaux

first_imgNeymar scored a double as Paris St Germain’s awe-inspiring firepower was on show again in a 6-2 demolition of Girondins de Bordeaux that stretched their Ligue 1 lead to three points on Saturday.Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier and Julian Draxler also found the back of the net before the break, with Kylian Mbappe adding a goal in the second half as Bordeaux hit back through Younousse Sankhare and Malcom.PSG, who crushed Bayern Munich 3-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, have 22 points from eight games to Monaco’s 19 after the principality side were held to a 1-1 home draw by Montpellier on Friday.Bordeaux, who had been the only other unbeaten team this season, are third, seven points off the pace.”There’s not much to say. We started with a good mindset but when you concede an early goal against such a team, it’s really difficult,” said Bordeaux captain Jeremy Toulalan.”We can play better. We lost a bit of focus when we were 3-0 up and we should be more disciplined,” said PSG fullback Meunier.Neymar opened the scoring after five minutes as he curled a 30-metre free kick under the bar.Seven minutes later, the Brazilian’s perfect through ball was collected by Cavani, who slotted it past Benoit Costil as PSG doubled their lead.PSG were all over Bordeaux and in the 21st Meunier made it 3-0, firing the ball into the top corner from Yuri Berchiche’s cross after Mbappe missed the ball.The visitors reduced the arrears in the 31st when Sankhare found the back of the net from close range after Bordeaux benefited from Marco Verratti’s bad clearance.advertisementTwo weeks after Cavani and Neymar argued over who would take a penalty, there was no discussion when PSG were awarded a spot kick in the 40th minute following Otavio’s handball.It was Neymar who took the penalty, converting it by wrong-footing Costil.For the first time in their history, PSG scored five goals in the first half as Draxler whipped in a sublime left-footed volley from Mbappe’s cross from the right.In the second half, Draxler repaid the favour to Mbappe, setting him up in the area, and the France striker scored with a crossed shot shortly before the hour.Malcolm gave Bordeaux their second goal from a 90th-minute penalty, awarded for a foul on Jonathan Cafu.last_img read more



Budget 2019 Liberals promise tax credit EI benefit to help workers

first_imgOTTAWA — Canadians could soon be putting $250 a year towards better skills, while getting federal help to pay the bills.One of the showpieces in Tuesday’s federal Liberal budget, part of more than $1.7 billion in planned new spending over five years, aims to help workers prepare for tectonic digital shifts in Canada’s labour market — although it appears to fall short of what experts have told the government would be needed to help workers chart a new career path.The Liberal proposal would provide a $250 refundable tax credit, accumulating over time, to allow workers to offset the costs of learning new job skills. The plan, to cost $710 million over the next five years, would be available to Canadian workers earning between $10,000 and about $150,000 a year.The budget document says the credit is expected to launch in late 2020 — a year after this fall’s federal election — and will apply against the cost of programs at eligible universities, colleges and institutions.“We will be able to make an enormous difference for people in terms of the worry that they have that they have the skills for tomorrow,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau told a news conference Tuesday prior to the tabling of the budget, the Liberal government’s last before voters head to the polls in October.“The Canada Training Benefit will allow people to have more time, have the ability in that more time to continue to provide for their family and also to pay for training courses.”The government also plans to create a new employment insurance benefit for those who take time off from work to attend a training program, up to a maximum of 55 per cent of earnings. That program carries a price tag of $1.04 billion over five years.Only those who qualify for employment insurance would be eligible for the four weeks of leave, redeemable within a four-year period. It would also require the federal government to negotiate labour code changes with provinces whose jurisdictions cover approximately 90 per cent of Canadian workers.The measure means workers have a right to training before they lose their job, but several details still need to be worked out, said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.“The federal government is going to have to really listen to what people are going to have to tell them about how they envision impediments in terms of a good program that could prevent them from even getting access to it,” said Yussuff.In particular, he said, it could be a hard sell to convince those living paycheque to paycheque of the importance of paying up front for future job training.There is a chance the benefit could result in higher EI premiums — the Liberals are promising a break to some small businesses to offset the “upward pressure” on premiums as a result — but the actual costs won’t be known until EI rates are set later this year.Since Morneau’s first budget three years ago, job creation has outpaced expectations and the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly four decades.Still, there appears to be a disconnect between the jobs that need to be filled, and the skills of workers looking for employment, which is where the new training benefit could act as an incentive to re-skill, said Mathieu Laberge, an expert with Deloitte.“We have a very low unemployment rate, we have job vacancies and that all points towards maybe a mis-alignment between current skills offered and current skills needed,” said Laberge, a former policy adviser to Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. The 2019 budget measure could “at least start something in terms of re-skilling (and) upskilling.”Past Liberal budgets have put billions into job-training programs that are largely the domain of provincial governments, hoping to cut poverty rates and get more people into the labour force. The new spending unveiled Tuesday is part of a group of measures that include lower interest rates for student loans, a revamped youth employment strategy and new parental leave options for student researchers and postdoctoral fellows who receive money from a granting council.Government officials have worked behind the scenes for years on ways to help Canadians prepare for shifts in the so-called “gig” economy, marked by fewer lifelong careers and more short-term jobs. There are also concerns that automation will eliminate between 42 per cent to nine per cent of workers in the next two decades, and federal officials aren’t sure the disruption will create enough jobs to offset losses.A new federally backed centre to test new training programs and help workers navigate career choices opened earlier this year, and is expected to work in tandem with the additional spending the Liberals unveiled in the 2019 budget.“The knowledge economy requires us to think about talent and I’m glad that the federal government is focusing on the tools and ways to help Canadians really overcome challenges,” said Mohamed Lachemi, president of Ryerson University where the Future Skills Centre is housed.“We have to adapt to new realities.”Jordan Press, The Canadian Presslast_img read more