Business seen as unemployment antidote

Two lawmakers Tuesday came out with a new proposal to reduce unemployment by teaching young people to run their own businesses.

The proposal includes protecting some of these startups from certain government charges, although the new enterprises would pay taxes.

The plan was advanced by Karla Prendas Matarrita and Michael Arce Sancho, both of the Partido Liberación Nacional.  The text of the bill was not yet available.

The proposal follows the government’s announcement Monday of a major digital effort that is designed, in part, to bring more persons into the workforce.

Casa Presidencial added new information Tuesday to the digital plan and said the price tag was $300 million over five programs. The idea is to connect 140,000 homes of poor people to the Internet, including the homes of those in extreme poverty.

The government never really clarified how Internet access would translate into jobs.

And the proposal took a hit in the legislature Tuesday when lawmaker Maureen Clarke Clarke said the project was the same that was proposed in 2011. Nothing happened then either, she said, and blamed the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos said in its last report that there are 217,933 persons unemployed in the country.  The two liberation lawmakers who presented the proposal Tuesday said the percentage was 10.1 percent.

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