The labour ministry and other agencies responsible for employment generation and facilitation have been ineffective, states the latest performance audit report.

If the ministry is to effectively deliver the 11th Plan target on employment, it should develop a strategic response to the unemployment situation in collaboration with Gross National Happiness Commission and other relevant agencies.

The report also stated that the implementation agencies have never come together or worked in coordination to ensure in achieving the common goal of employment generation.

Full employment is one of the 16 National Key Results Areas of the 11th Plan with the target to ensure full employment of 97.5 percent.

“No records were maintained on the accomplishment of the implementing agencies’ work towards employment,” the audit report pointed out. “This has lead to many shortcomings in delivering the 11th FYP target.”

The report stated that absence of labour market need and impact assessment system and monitoring and supervision mechanism had resulted in other inadequacies in the effective implementation of the employment generation and facilitation programmes. The ministry has expended almost 80 percent of the total budget, but no impact assessment was carried out.

“The overall employment facilitation programmes were ineffective in achieving the targeted number of employment, regularising jobs to all those who had availed the benefits,” the report stated. “It has not addressed the chronic job seekers as intended, and most of all, in reducing the youth unemployment rate.”

The ministry had initiated several programmes to facilitate and promote employment without a proper study determining the needs and gaps in the current labour market.

The report stated that although the latest labour force survey report (LFSR) 2015 claimed of achieving a target of 97.5 percent employment rate, it still leaves room for doubt on the achievement because under employment, a high proportion of employment in informal sectors and unemployed qualified youth were still prevalent.

There were still 17,135 chronic job seekers as reported in ministry’s job portal system where 58 percent had remained unemployment for more than a year after registration.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) recommended that various sectors should be taken on board and their commitments and stakes factored in to formulate a national level strategy for employment generation.

It also recommended the ministry to develop the Employment Responsibility System, the most important prerequisite for coordinated and integrated approach, to outline clear roles and responsibilities with the ministry as a lead agency.

“Owing to the inadequacies observed and lack of coordination among relevant sectors and agencies, the 11-FYP target may not be achievable,” it stated.

It recommended the ministry to conduct a detailed labour market need assessment to find out the gaps in the labour market since most of the inadequacies emanated from not conducting the assessment.

The RAA found that the ministry could not provide information on an actual number of jobs created by the sectors identified for creating employment except LFSR, which was based on certain assumption and methodologies adopted.

The review also found non-regularisation of services on completion of contract period. It found that 57.6 percent of candidates under direct employment program and employment skills scheme were not given the job on completion. The ministry had incurred Nu 89.32 million to train the candidates.

The report stated that without an assessment and lack of proper evaluation of training, it was difficult to ascertain if the training was relevant and the candidates were provided with continued quality employment.

“It was found that participants were enrolled in more than one programme and cost implication thereof where 1,027 participants availed more than one program, depriving others’ from availing the opportunity,” the report stated. “The ministry has incurred Nu 72.91 million in the form of stipend and tuition fees.”

Lack of adequate monitoring and supervision of the programmes was also found where the ministry has lacked to ensure that intended objectives are met through the performance of the programme. The report recommended ministry to tone up the monitoring system, during and after the support period to achieve the objective.

At the time of audit, there were 28,006 jobseekers registered and recorded in the system, of which, 10,860 are employed, 11 are not willing to join the work offered and 17,135 are still unemployed. The RAA observed that there are jobseekers registered since 2013 that have remained unemployed.

Yangchen C Rinzin