Lebanon Businessnews News

Foreign Affairs Ministry
launches job creation project
Encourages Syrians to return home
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is readying the Subsidized Temporary Employment Program (STEP) for launch in the next few weeks.

The goal of STEP is to support job creation in SMEs, according to Rami Adwan, advisor to MoFA. STEP aims to have investments reaching $120 million yearly.

The project comprises three components: The first is to provide support to SMEs through a process of matching capital whereby the amount put forth by SMEs is matched in the form of grant from international organizations. The second component is to provide SMEs with incentives to hire locals. In the first three years, local employees will be covered by social contributions to encourage employers to hire more.

The third component involves the temporary employment of Syrian refugees who will also receive financial incentives that will be made available upon their return to Syria or their resettlement in a third host country.

“This component aims to encourage the return of Syrians to their home country,” said Adwan.

STEP is based on the concept of providing grants rather than loans. Donors in the project’s pilot phase are the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the German sustainable development and cooperation agency (GIZ).

Adwan said: “Other donors are interested but are waiting to see the results of the pilot phase.”

He said: “STEP is not about how the companies grow and develop, but rather focuses on the number of jobs they will create.”

A company will be hired by MoFA to manage grant money and select the SMEs that will benefit from the program.

“All employees working on the project in the chosen company will be local. We rejected all those bidders who have foreign workers among their staff,” he said.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jul 13, 2017
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