With population ageing and record-low birth rate threatening economic growth, the need for employment-based immigration should no longer be up for debate, says Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä (Centre). (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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THE NEED for employment-based immigration should no longer be up for debate in Finland, views Mika Lintilä (Centre), the Minister of Finance.

Lintilä on Monday reminded that continuing population ageing and record-low birth rate pose the greatest challenges for economic growth and, consequently, the future of the welfare state by threatening to reduce labour inputs and increase public expenses.

“Almost a third of municipal employees and nearly a half of central administration employees will retire in the next 10 years,” he stated in his speech at the annual Anders Chydenius Free Trade Seminar in Helsinki. “The trend is similar in the private sector. And the change will obviously also reduce the number of entrepreneurs.”

“In light of these figures, whether or not employment-based immigration is needed should no longer be a matter of opinion. It’s absolutely needed,” he underlined.

Lintilä estimated that the demographic trend is also linked to the protracted slump in investments in Finland.

“A low level of investment could, at worst, set off a cycle of decay between investments and – for example – productivity, competitiveness, tax rates, labour market participation, the ability to pay wages and the balance of public finances. It goes without saying that we can ill-afford to end up in a cycle like that.”

Statistics Finland on Friday reported that the country’s gross domestic product grew by 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 1.2 per cent year-on-year between April and June 2019.

Pasi Kuoppamäki, the chief economist at Danske Bank, pointed out that with the gross domestic product thereby growing by one per cent in the first half of the year, the economy will have to pick up speed if it is to grow by more than that in 2019.

“Exports are struggling to gain traction and investments are slumping, but the rest is up to us consumers,” he analysed on Twitter.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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