Thinley Namgay    

The government aims to reduce the unemployment rate in the country from 4.8 percent to three percent in the financial year 2022-2023, according to Labour Minister Karma Dorji.

He said this in response to a question from Kengkhar-Weringla Member of Parliament (MP) Rinzin Jamtsho on unemployment issues during the question-hour session at the National Assembly yesterday.

MP Rinzin Jamtsho asked about the government’s plans and initiatives to curb unemployment.

“What is the government doing to curb the alarming rate of rising unemployment problems in the country?” the MP asked, adding that what  are the government’s major plans and programmes besides His Majesty’s initiatives such as DeSuung skilling and Gyalsung programmes.

According to Rinzin Jamtsho, the employment situation has worsened and citizens are concerned about the lack of employment opportunities.

“Many classes X, XII and university graduates are without jobs.  Currently, out of 100 people, 20 don’t have jobs,” Rinzin Jamtsho said. “I think the government has a responsibility to create jobs.”

Labour Minister Karma Dorji said the global unemployment rate is 7.47 percent and it is an issue internationally.

As per Lyonpo, the overall unemployment rate in the country had dropped to 4.8 percent in 2021 from five percent in 2020. “The youth unemployment has reduced to 20.9 percent in 2021 of the 22 percent in 2020.”

The government allocated Nu 1,627 million in the financial year 2022-2023 for employment-related activities.

Lyonpo said there is nothing much the government could do to create jobs but the government would continue providing relevant training and engaging the job seekers in business and skill development programmes to make them competent.

“Jobs should be created by the private sector,” Lyonpo said.

According to Lyonpo, 1,936 youth were engaged through a skills development plan that started last year.

Considering the equal opportunities even for illiterate youth, Lyonpo said the village skill development programme has engaged around 600 youth so far.

“Basic entrepreneurship courses and start-ups have involved 1,321 people.  So far, 129 people have started their business and they have engaged 291 youth,” Lyonpo said, adding that Build Bhutan Project since its inception in 2020 has employed 1,735 youth.

Lyonpo said that the youth engagement and livelihood programme was started to engage youth for three to 12 months. “So far, 1,977 were involved in this programme.”