Requests the target to reduce unemployment be also set at the national level

The labour ministry has not been able to reduce youth unemployment rate to 2.5 percent and female youth unemployment to five percent as targeted in its annual performance agreement (APA).

With youth unemployment at 13.2 percent and female youth unemployment at 11 percent according to the National Labour Force Survey Report, 2017, these two targets set by the ministry are at risk, labour secretary Sonam Wangchuk said at the mid- year review on February 7.

Of the 32 success indicators, the ministry has achieved two – starting three courses at Jigme Wangchuck Polytechnic Training Institute (JWPTI) in September and inauguration of Rigney College in August 2017. It has 28 targets on track.

“The ministry feels that it will be unable to achieve youth unemployment rate of 2.5 percent as per the 11th Five-Year Plan target with only two quarters remaining,” the secretary said.

“This indicator is an outcome level and since the issue is cross sectoral, it needs to be also reflected as a key performance indicator for national key results area and not for agency key results area and APA of the particular agency.”

Sonam Wangchuk requested overall unemployment be addressed through a multi-sectoral approach along with the private sector that has a potential to create employment opportunities.

“This is to ensure that each sector comes up with relevant programmes and activities to generate employment opportunities, set realistic job creation targets in the plans, annual plans and APA,” he said. “We want to clarify that we’re not asking to drop the target percentage from the success indicators and that we’ll work hard to make sure the rate comes down.”

This approach, secretary said, is already being adopted for the 12th Plan, which includes establishment of a robust employment responsibility system and employment committees at both central and local levels.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that as the secretary has requested the target percentage should not be disturbed, but to work on ways to create jobs through various ministries.

“Every ministry is working on create job opportunities but we’ll have to find out how many are actually without a job,” the prime minister said. “It is not enough only to say that there is no job but to give jobs to those who’re unemployed.”

Prime minister said it has reached this stage now because of the perception that there are no jobs. However, he said, it is not easy to find unemployed people.

“There are unemployed people who reside in rural areas purposely because they don’t look for jobs; and there are those who look for jobs but with no jobs available stay in rural doing farm works. For them we’ve to look for jobs,” the prime minister said. “Some chose to stay as home makers but do we want to consider them as unemployed or not?”

The three new courses the ministry started are in transmission and distribution lineman, underground power cable trenching, laying and termination, and repair and maintenance of transformer in JWPTI for 40 trainees.

The new Rigney College with the 12 students in Trashiyangtse offers lhadri, jimzo, and patra.

“This achievement is in relevance to the APA’s objective to improve quality and relevance of TVET,” the secretary said.

The ministry has spent 34.92 percent of the total budget. The ministry received Nu 629.4 of the Nu 1043.71 revised budget and spent Nu 364.53.

Yangchen C Rinzin