Opp. tags state of unemployment a ‘crisis’

Govt. responds that, in fact, through its efforts, the situation has improved

Labour: The question hour session of the National Assembly yesterday discussed the unemployment issue, with the Pangbang member of parliament (MP) Dorji Wangdi calling the situation a ‘crisis’ for the country.

Doga-Shaba’s MP Kezang Wangmo said she feared women were left behind when it came to securing a job.  Female unemployment rate today stood at 3.5 percent, which is higher than the male unemployment rate of 1.9 percent.

Labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said the issue was relevant to all 76,531 females in the country.

The labour minister reminded the house that, in 2013, the female unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent, which was higher than the 3.5 percent in 2014.

“The Constitution clearly reflects that equal job opportunities should be given to both genders, as per their capabilities, which the ministry strictly follows,” he said.

The ministry, he said, has employed 1,764 jobseekers under the guaranteed employment programme (GEP), of which 835 are male and 929 are female.  In the employment skills programme (ESP), 794 are employed, of which 307 are male and 487 are female.  In the overseas employment programme (OES), 489 of the 727 employed are female.

“We can see that females have been given more job opportunities compared to male,” the minister said.

Pangbang MP Dorji Wangdi asked the minister how jobs would be provided to community-based teachers, whose contracts are expiring this month, and also to students who are graduating this year.  About 2,300 to 2,500 students graduate from college every year.

“The issue has reached a crisis level and more deliberations should take place,” he said.

Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said the ministry was equally concerned of the issue, adding that the community-based teachers were recruited when there was a shortage of teachers in 2009.

“Since they have a few years of teaching experience, we’re planning to provide teacher’s license with the education ministry’s help, so that they can get work abroad,” lyonpo said.

He said, with the help of the Royal Institute of Management, a teacher knowledge test would be conducted for them and certificates issued.

“As for the graduates, we have many employment programmes initiated by the ministry where they’ll be in a position to secure a job,” he said.

In August, another 148 graduates are going to Kuwait under the OES programme, lyonpo said.

The works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden said unemployment had always been a pressing issue and, in this session, it must be made sure that the right information was provided to jobseekers.

“Instead of scaring jobseekers, saying that it is a crisis, we must make sure that they understand that finding a job depends on one’s capability, and it’s not just the government’s responsibility,” lyonpo said. “The government must create opportunities, but it’s equally important for the jobseekers to be capable.”

By Thinley Zangmo

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