We are faced with such a scandalous paradox that is so absurd we seem to have long given up making any sense of it.

Talk to government offices, on which a large section of population depends for service delivery, and they will tell you they don’t have enough manpower to handle the responsibilities and workloads. And then look at the unemployment situation. There is the contradicting story.

It is good that we are hearing this refrain again as we are reviewing our plans and development programmes of all the sectors. The only difference this time is that the subdued voices that we have been hearing all along have turned into loud protestations.

We believe that those who must hear the abject wail are hearing. If they aren’t, wilfully or otherwise, it time they got down from the towering pedestals where they are put and felt the pulse of the common.

Let’s study the dizzying government figures we have in our hands today: We are well on the way to achieving full employment; our unemployment rate stands at 2.6 percent; we need to create 82, 000 jobs before the 11th Plan draws to a close. Going by the pressure we feel and the despairing we hear everyday, the number of jobless people in the country is by much more than 9,174, and rising.

The situation of unemployment in rural Bhutan has improved as the figures tell us. We are told that we have been able to reduce rural unemployment by much more than the national target we set. How could this not happen when people from rural pockets of the country are increasingly moving to the urban centres seeking better opportunities?

Director general of employment rightly put it thus: “The economy is not generating quality jobs.” But, in fact, how would the state of the economy improve when vital sectors like agriculture, livestock and construction remain vastly neglected. Should we press the point again: Bhutan’s economy hinges on the success of these sectors.

And what about developing private sector? Haven’t we heard enough of government’s pledge to boost the sector so that it is able to create more employment opportunities?

Mid-term review is giving us the real picture of where we are and where we need to be. Let’s get on our feet and grasp the opportunities while we still have some time.

Relying too much on stats is the sign of weedy leadership. Now is time to decide.