What Bhutan needs today is a change, a radical change. We are talking about our development initiatives, plan and budget allocations. To put it in the right perspective, we are talking about building our own nation.
The Build Bhutan Project is beginning to show the way to build the “internal” capacity. Thousands of our unemployed youth have found a place to show to talent and commitment.
Youth unemployment has been growing over the years. At the same time, we have been importing more foreign workers—skilled professionals. We have not been able to produce our own experts in the many fields outside of the civil service.
The Build Bhutan Project has now increased the salary for the Bhutanese who are ready and willing to work in the industry. The rise is significant. But it is a game-changer, which is by far more important.
The argument today is that the civil service is posing itself as a monolithic impediment in the nation’s development journey for all the recognition and respects that we have given it. But the times have evolved. The realities have changed.
Build Bhutan Project’s initiative to increase the salaries of builders and professional in the construction industry is in line with the national dream of making Bhutan a self-sufficient nation in all respects.
The beauty of this initiative is that, done right, we can build a pool of human resource in the sector which can bring down cost and burden on people, especially in the growing towns and cities.
Thousands of enterprising youth will find business opportunities, which in turn will kickstart new ventures and openings for the young graduates and jobseekers.
Bhutan has been in need of almost 50,000 foreign workers [in the construction sector]. Ironically, unemployment, particularly youth unemployment in the country has been growing. Build Bhutan Project’s initiative, in this sense, is raising the standards that can have positive developments in the sector.
This is good because, we need a change in the way we create employment. The civil service must be small and efficient. The economy must be run by the courage and dynamism of the private sector. We have a long way to go.
The real challenge is that Build Bhutan Project looks like a short-time project. Its game will, so, have a huge impact in the labour market. What if the project dies this year? Will the private companies be able to pay its employees on the standards the project set?
The project must live on to create a pool of experts in diverse fields, particularly in the construction industry. This is a matter that must be discussed in the Parliament and budget set aside to ensure continuity.
Otherwise, Bhutan will still be looking for foreign experts even to build a culvert on the roadside and sweating to solve the rising unemployment problem.