The Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and Labour and Human Resource Minister, Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Chenpo met with the members of Employment Creation Task Force at the Gyalyong Tshogkhang this morning.
In the meeting, Lyonchhen thanked the members on behalf of Cabinet Ministers and the youth for dedicating their time and putting their voluntary efforts in preparing an extensive report towards creating employment opportunities for the Bhutanese jobseekers. However, Lyonchhen requested the members to revisit the report and try to further address the issue of providing jobs. For example - Should the government continue to be the main provided of jobs? Or should this responsibility be shared with private sector? Where are the opportunities for the government to create jobs? How we can use hydropower to create employment? etc. Lyonchhen also urged the members to look at the opportunities for self- employment by coming up with a list of areas in which our youth can venture into.
Lyonchhen said that investing in prospective areas such as Agriculture, Tourism, Hydropower, Information Technology, Self-Employment projects and the Private Sector was very crucial for the economy’s growth. And in order to create employment opportunities in these areas especially the private sector, the economy should grow and for that we need investment, Lyonchhen said. Hence, Lyonchhen also asked the members to look at Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), Should we invite FDI or should we continue with the existing trend – Lyonchhen said.
The Employment Creation Task Force has twenty-eight members. With Hon’ble Layog Lyonpo as the Chairperson and the Chief Planning Officers and senior representatives from Ministries, Autonomous agencies, NGOs, Banks, Corporations, DHI, RUB, Khesar Gyelpo University of Medical Sciences, BoIC and BCCI.
Employment Creation Task Force
During the 11th FYP it is projected that about 120,000 jobseekers will be entering into the labour market. To achieve full employment (97.5%) during the 11th Plan, the economy has to create an additional 82,000 jobs, which means that the overall unemployment rate should be maintained at 2.5%.
Therefore, towards addressing the social and economic problems associated with unemployment in the country, the government has committed to achieve full employment, which means that 97.5 percent of the Bhutanese labour force will be gainfully employed. However, it was observed that due to sluggish economic growth during the past years, the desired objectives could not be achieved and during 2013, the overall unemployment rate rose to 2.9%.
Further, as revealed by the Labour Force Survey report 2013, that the youth unemployment rate was alarmingly registered at 9.6% which has become a serious concern to the government. In addition to this, as per the estimates made by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, the natural job creation by the economy would be only about 42,000. This indicates that in order to achieve the set target the government has to come up with alternative solutions to address the remaining 40,000 jobseekers. In light of the current scenario, the Cabinet has instructed the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources to take immediate steps in order to resolve this issue.
Subsequently, the Lhengye Zhungtshog, during its 68th session held on 10th March 2015, decided to form a special Task Force on Employment Creation (ECTF) as a forum to exchange mutual experiences and policy responses to the employment challenges faced by the country. It will be composed of Chief Planning Officers from Ministries, Autonomous Agencies, the DHI and the BCCI who will propose a set of strategies to promote job creation and economic growth as these two are very closely intertwined. The ECTF will conduct frank and productive discussions on important issues such as the need to promote economic growth to create quality jobs, youth employment and skills development, entrepreneurship, guaranteed employment and overseas employment.
The mandate of the Task Force on Employment Creation (ECTF) is to:
1. Carry out desk reviews of relevant documents such as Bhutan 2020, SGNH, 11FYP, LFS reports, Unemployed Youth Perception Report, National Employment Policy, 2013, Guidelines on Guaranteed Employment Program, Regulations on Recruitment and Selection Regulation on Overseas employment Program, etc. in order to understand the wide range of perspectives and practical problems of the Bhutanese labour markets and aimed at providing sound, practical and implementable strategies for quality job creation.
2. Recommend to the Cabinet, well-designed policy and program interventions to reduce unemployment.
3. Recommend Incentives to promote growth and create employment, such as the Credit Guarantee program , in order to support the proponents of small enterprises to have access to bank loans without collateral support.
4. Recommend to the Cabinet, necessary measures to be implemented in a comprehensive manner, to promote growth of SMEs, as SMEs are known to create large number of jobs.
5. Identify areas of new employment opportunities and issues regarding their viability and quality
6. Recommend to the Cabinet changes in the legislation if necessary, promotion of conducive working conditions, minimum wages and protection of labour interests and social security to improve the job quality and its security in the private sector.
7. Submit its views on the Overseas Employment Program and recommend strategies to enhance its effectiveness
8. Submit its views on the Guaranteed Employment Program and recommend strategies to improve its effectiveness.
While working towards achieving the above mandate, the ECTF must recognize that there is an urgent need to promote growth and generate jobs through appropriate labour market measures and fostering the creation of decent work and quality jobs to combat unemployment in the country. This involves several issues and a strong need for a multi-sectoral approach and commitments. The main issues that need to be looked into by the ECTF are:
i. The need for quality employment based on change in the supply of labour force,
ii. The need to create jobs, especially for youth
iii. The importance of establishing nationally determined social protection floors,
iv. The need to promote women focus employment
v. The need to understand that one agency alone cannot combat the growing unemployment and the whole nation must contribute to this effort.
In keeping with the mandate and above objectives, the Task Force must focus on the following key outcomes to be considered by the Cabinet:
? A set of practical and implementable recommendations on creation of quality jobs in the country.
? Recommendations on the Overseas Employment Program
? Recommendations on the Guaranteed Employment Program
? A set of recommendations on policy responses to meet the challenges of stimulating job creation
As directed, the Employment Creation Task Force was formed with Hon’ble Layog Lyonpo as the Chairperson and the Chief Planning Officers and senior representatives of the following organizations as members:
1. Ministry of Agriculture
2. Ministry of Education
3. Ministry of Works and Human Settlement
4. Ministry of Information and Communication
5. Ministry of Economic Affairs
6. Ministry of Labour and Human Resources
7. Ministry of Finance
8. Royal Civil Service Commission
9. Gross National Happiness Commission
10. Druk Holdings & Investment
11. Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Investment
12. Business Opportunity Information Centre
13. Tourism Council of Bhutan
14. Construction Development Board
15. Loden Foundation
16. Construction Development Corporation Limited
17. Druk Green Power Corporation
18. Royal University of Bhutan
19. Khesar Gyelpo University of Medical Sciences
20. National Housing Development Corporation Limited
21. Bank of Bhutan Limited
22. Bhutan National Bank Limited
23. Druk Punjab National Bank Limited
24. Bhutan Development Bank Limited
25. Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Limited
26. National Pension and Provident Fund
27. Bhutan Power Corporation Limited