BBP engaged 2,421 of 3,500 targeted last year

Yangchen C Rinzin 

Monthly wage for employee of Build Bhutan Project has not changed despite much hype.

This means unskilled workers are paid Nu 12,000, National Certificate III (NC3) Nu 16,500, NC2 Nu 15,000, diploma holders Nu 18,000, and engineers Nu 20,000.

The government bears the wage top-up of 25 percent to the floor wage rate and the remaining is born by the employer.

Labour ministry pays Nu 6,000 stipend for those engaged in training programme in various training institutes, including the food and accommodation.

The ministry also pays Nu 6,000 stipend during the on-the-job training. However, for masonry, the ministry decided to pay additional Nu 3,000 allowance given the skills it requires.

To motivate, inspire and encourage Bhutanese to work in construction sectors, the ministry announced the revision of wage. However, the revision was put on halt even before it was implemented because it needed holistic approach and review, according to the ministry.

With wages not revised, it was speculated that many were leaving BBP slowly. Some also blamed youth not taking interest in the construction sector.

The two-year project began last year under the Economic Contingency Plan with budget outlay of Nu 726 million (M). A total of Nu 416M has been approved for this fiscal year.

Although the detail was not shared, Layog Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said that it was decided to keep the wage rate as before. He disagreed that many were leaving the BBP because of the wage. “In fact, going by the enrolment in the training institute through the BBP, it’s evident that many are interested.”

Lyonpo said that BBP is picking up slowly.

“If it was true as claimed that many were leaving because of the wage, then the attrition should be in mass,” Lyonpo added. “Only a few have left because of personal reasons or they got job.”

Going by the record, the BBP has engaged a total of 776 in the direct engagement programme for construction sector. A total of 92 have completed their contract period.

However, going by the record, only eight people have left from the BBP since its inception.

The ministry has engaged a total of 313 employees in the Punatsangchhu II and 330 employees at the Nikachhu hydropower project.

The ministry has also placed 14 in the industry-based skill training under the department of road.

The record also showed that 988 employees are engaged through training skilling programme in various training institutes and, currently, the fifth batch of 280 employees are undergoing training in different courses.

While rest are on the job training, some have already been certified NC2. Once certified, the ministry tries and help them to get job in the market.

Although the ministry engaged a total of 2,421 through the BBP, it could not meet the target to engage 3,500 employees last year.

A total of 40 specialised firms are also established through BBP against the target to establish 18.

The ministry is exploring the possibility to issue NC3 from this year through the training programme. The ministry would emphasise on the training and skilling programme instead of engaging them directly to job.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk