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OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was founded on September 30, 1961.
The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.
The OECD member countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Russia, China, India and several other countries have signed multilateral conventions with OECD but are not members. Pakistan has officially become a signatory of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters aimed at curbing growing tax evasion.
The OECD is funded by contributions from member states.
Given below are highlights from the OECD report 2020 about employment outlook. Though the report is based on OECD member states data, the findings resonate with Pakistan and all other countries.[Quote] The epidemiological model developed by the OECD shows that the severe restrictions to social and economic life that most OECD countries (and many others) have had to take to slow the spread of the virus have prevented the collapse of health care systems and helped to avoid hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of deaths. Yet, there is no question that these measures have had very serious economic and social consequences. Entire sectors of the economy were essentially closed down for weeks on end. Between the last quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, OECD-wide GDP is projected to have fallen by almost 15%. In the first three months of the COVID-19 crisis, in OECD countries for which data are available, hours worked fell ten times more than in the first three months of the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
Who has been hit the hardest?
- Low-paid, often low-educated workers were particularly affected during the initial phase of the crisis. If these were working in the essential sectors, hospitals, security, production, logistics, janitors, cashiers, store employees are some examples. They put their health on risk to ensure continuation of essential services.
- Outside the essential services, low earners were more likely to be working in sectors affected by shutdowns and are more likely to have suffered job or earning loss.
- Workers in non-standard jobs, self-employed workers, temporary workers, part time workers, contractual workers and daily wagers were highly exposed to job and income loss.
- Young people are among the big losers of the current crisis. Those who graduated this year are facing poor chances of employment in the marketplace. Even those planning to start up their own businesses have to put all such plans on hold.
- Women have played a key role in the healthcare response to the pandemic. They make up two thirds of the healthcare workforce including over 85% nurses and midwives. The crisis has amplified the burden of unpaid work, and much of this has fallen on women. As schools and childcare facilities have closed, the amount of time that parents spend on child care, supervision, and schooling has increased, and much of this additional burden has fallen on women. Single parents, most of whom are women, are particularly vulnerable. They were hit much harder than two-parent families by the closure of childcare facilities and schools during confinement. Reliance on a single income also means that job loss can be critical for single-parent families, especially where public income support is weak or slow to react. Women often hold less wealth than men to use to cushion temporary income losses.
The report recommends the following measures for the way ahead.
- Solving the health crisis is an essential precondition to solving the economic and jobs crisis. A comprehensive package of public health interventions – ranging from large scale testing, tracking and tracing, to enhanced personal hygiene, and continued physical-distancing policies – will go a long way towards averting a huge second wave.
- Job retention schemes, government-financed wage subsidy schemes appear to have averted an initial surge in unemployment in a number of countries. However, designed mainly to provide immediate support, they now need to be adapted to ensure sufficiently strong incentives for firms to move off support, and for workers to move into viable jobs.
- Income support for jobseekers and their families is provided through a variety of programs – including unemployment insurance and assistance, minimum-income benefits, as well as other transfers that may or may not depend on the family’s income situation. Among these, unemployment benefits are, in principle, best suited to provide an effective combination of income support, job search incentives and access to re-employment services.
- Some jobseekers may be able to seize on job opportunities that arise, even in times of crisis, including in essential occupations. Others may require assistance and encouragement to find new work. For these individuals, the crisis may represent an occasion for upskilling or retraining to increase their employability and avoid falling into long-term unemployment.
- To prevent the crisis from leaving long-lasting scars on young people’s careers, countries need to act quickly and help young people maintain their links with the labour market and education system. [Unquote]
Pakistan has had its share of difficulties. Having limited resources, it has still done quite well. Going forward, review of policies and consistent application is highly desirable.
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