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Labor Minister Casts A Cloud

Manpower Minister: 50% Unemployment Possible in Bali Tourism Industry.

(10/21/2002) During meetings held with members of Parliament in the days following the Bali bomb attack, Indonesian Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, Jacob Nuwa Wea, has projected that as many of 50% of the Balinese employed in the tourism sector may lose their jobs if Bali tourism fails to recover within one year's time.

The Minister predicted that as many as 300,000 workers in the hotel, restaurant and recreational sectors could be terminated if international visitors continued to stay away from the island for a protracted period.

The Minister said his department was busy trying to take anticipatory steps to help those who might lose their jobs including establishing retraining programs in the agricultural sectors and exposure to entrepreneurial management. Admitting it is difficult to channel tourism workers into agricultural fields of work, Minister Wea said that this represented the extent of what the government is able to do in such a situation.