1,473 applicants register for BBP after wage revision

The fourth batch skilling program would commence by mid-March

The Build Bhutan Project (BBP) received 1,473 applicants from January 29 to February 8 this year for both the engagement and skilling program after the revision of wage top-up and incentives.

There were 703 applicants for the skilling program of which 511 are male and 192 female. For the engagement program there were 770 applicants of which 545 are male and 225 female.

To attract, motivate and retain people in the construction sector, the labor ministry notified wage top-up and incentives on January 29 this year for the new entrants and those already engaged through the BBP in both skilling and engagement. The revision entitled an individual a minimum of Nu 25,200 a month.

Project Coordinator of BBP, Kesang Jigme said the number of people to be absorbed in the fourth batch of the skilling program is not decided yet although the five institutes can accommodate around 500 individuals a batch.

Meanwhile, the project has not started the engagement program after the new revision although registration is open since the government is working on the implementation modalities.

“BBP has become attractive since the wage revision and more people want to join however, we do not want to pull people from other sectors,” said Kesang Jigme.

Further, he said there are already people who are working in the construction sector and if the employers come and ask for wage top-up and incentives, it would not serve the purpose of the project.

“It is to give an opportunity to the new entrants,” said Kesang Jigme. “The project is designed for those people who are laid-off due to COVID-19, overseas returnees, those whose working contracts have expired and those unemployed.”

Additionally, he said applicants are verified from the labor ministry’s job portal system, kidu recipients, and appointment letters and quarantine documents for overseas returnees.

Kesang Jigme said the ongoing third batch of skilling program that was scheduled to complete by mid-February this year was delayed by a month due to the second lockdown.

Although he said the trainees reported to the institutes by December 14 last year, training could start only from January 18 due to the second lockdown.

Kesang Jigme said the fourth batch training would commence by mid-March when the third batch graduates.

According to the labor ministry, 79 were engaged in first batch, 169 in the second batch, and 203 in the third batch in both the engagement and skilling program.

However, a labor official said compared to the month of July last year which saw 1,551 individuals registered for BBP, 707 in August, 659 in September, 457 in October, 355 in November, and 206 in December, there is decline this time around.

Additionally, 1,536 applicants have either withdrawn or were not approved till January 29.

The project targets 2,500 individuals in the engagement program and 1,000 in the training program till June 2021.

BBP offers construction carpentry, building painting, excavator, masonry, welding, plumbing, and electrical services.

Currently, there are 45,000 to 50,000 unemployed in the country of which 30,000 are availing the Royal Kidu Relief Fund.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu