Following the Prime Minister’s statement at the National Assembly of there being more jobs than registered number of jobseekers, the Kengkha-Weringla, MP, Rinzin Jamtsho yesterday asked the labour minister to give the house a specific reason as to why the jobs were not taken.

The MP also asked the minister to share information on the kinds of jobs available based on qualifications.

“The reason for asking this question is because employment situation is becoming worse in the country and often the issue is perceived as a debate between the opposition and the ruling party,” he said. “Different figures and information are provided that is misleading.”

Labour minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, said that although the prime minister already informed the house, he would repeat the information because the MP has asked again.

He said there are 38,804 jobseekers registered as of October. A total of 27,290 jobs were created in the government, corporations, non-governmental organisations, and sent for overseas employment. An additional 9,003 jobs were provided through temporary internship programmes.

“Which means a total 36,293 were employed so far and there are 2,511 still unemployed,” lyonpo said.  “The government is trying every way to create jobs and there are still 3,626 job vacancies available.”

The labour minister said that some of the jobs available were in hydropower projects that require experts and technicians, in the field of agriculture and forests, tourism, self-employment opportunities, and the construction sector.

He explained that there is still a shortage of manpower in industrial estates in Samdrupjongkhar, Gelephu, and Pasakha and that the government has looked into creating jobs by establishing new corporations and non-governmental organisation that require manpower.

“MP says there are many jobseekers, but this is not true going by our record,” lyonpo said. “The record is provided by civil servants and the figure is not created by us for any political mileage.”

However, agreeing with the unemployment issue, lyonpo said that the main issue was the youth’s preference for government jobs and corporations and the private sector being the least preferred.

“Some of the main issues are job preference, job placement preference, mismatch of available jobs and skills and preference for desk jobs,” lyonpo said. “Of the total vacancies, 1,263 jobs were created in 33 corporations, but the turnout was less because they preferred to work in urban places like Phuentsholing, Thimphu, and Paro.”

Citing an example, lyonpo said, a woman who runs a saloon in Trashigang was in need of a hairdresser and was willing to pay Nu 45,000 a month as salary. He added although there were 11 youth who had just returned from hairdressing training, no one took up the job because of preference for place.

“Some youth don’t look for jobs immediately even when available because they have people to depend on, which contributes to unemployment.”

Yangchen C Rinzin