The National Statistics Bureau (NSB) should conduct the labour force survey, the joint sitting of the Parliament decided on December 6.

The house resolved this after deliberating the performance audit report on employment generation and promotion activities. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommended that the labour force survey be carried out by an independent agency and not by the labour ministry to avoid conflict of interest.

Pemagatshel’s member of parliament (MP) Jigme Rinzin said that the only agency that has the potential and mandate to provide official statistics is the NSB.

He said that the labour ministry has a trend of consulting NSB and World Bank for the survey clearance and sample size review. “It should be clearly stated that the survey should be carried by NSB and not by an independent agency.” He also said that experts from NSB review the methodologies of the survey while obtaining survey clearance.

The PAC submitted that the ministry currently reworked survey methodologies and sample size for the upcoming Labour Force Survey 2017 in collaboration with the World Bank.

While supporting the recommendations, Samtse MP Sangay Khandu said that there should not be any mention of conflict of interest. “It has a higher risk of misinterpreting the efficiency and effectiveness of the survey carried by the agency.”

Labour minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, said that the labour force survey has an important role in policy and decision-making. “We increased the sampling size from 6000 to 8000 for the next labour force survey and it would include 44 percent of the rural population.”

He said that the sample size of earlier labour surveys included 25 percent of the rural population. The minister also supported the committee’s recommendation that the survey be conducted by NSB.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) made nine recommendations to enhance greater accountability and, improved decision-making and effective implementation of plans and programmes in the ministry.

It asked the ministry to develop a strategic response to unemployment situation in collaboration with Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and other relevant agencies. To develop an employment responsibility system.

It also recommended the ministry to conduct labour market needs assessment, establish a robust system to monitor and supervise the programmes, conduct a detailed study on unemployed youth and come up with a strategy to provide employment to chronic jobseekers.

It also stated that the ministry should ensure sustainable employment generation and facilitation programmes through proper studies, strict enforcement of regulations on Bhutanese overseas employment Agent 2013 and bring changes in the existing process of conducting labour force survey for improvement. “It should update the information management system maintained for employment facilitation programmes.”

The PAC stated that five recommendations were partially implemented and four were fully implemented.

However, opposition member from Panbang, MP Dorji Wangdi said it would be better if the ministry conducts the survey as usual. “There are several other surveys conducted by ministries and organisation too.”

He said that the recommendation would have an impact on other surveys in future. “There was no doubt and inconveniences regarding the labour force survey to date. The government did not generate the report this year.”

Conducting the labour force survey began in 1998.