MoLHR to start Employment and Livelihood Corporation soon

The unemployment rate almost doubled from 2.7% in 2019 to 5% in 2020

Labor and Human Resources Minister Karma Dorji was quizzed on the pledge made by the current government to establish an Employment and Livelihood Corporation to manage employment issues in the country during the question-answer session of the National Assembly yesterday.

Responding to the query from MP Drungtsho Karma Wangchuk from the Chhumig-Ura constituency, Lyonpo Karma Wangdi said the program’s planning and processes are in place and the execution will begin in six months.

One of the pressing issues of the nation has been unemployment, which was been further aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic, the minister said.

According to the Labour Force Survey Report of 2021, the unemployment rate almost doubled from 2.7% in 2019 to 5% in 2020.

Lyonpo Karma Dorji said that one of the sectors where the ministry envisions a bigger scope for employment is the construction industry, where a large number of workers are needed.

“We import over 80,000 foreign workers every year, while only around 20,000 Bhutanese are working in the sector. If we can replace even half of the foreign workers, many unemployed people will have jobs,” the minister said, adding that the ministry is emphasizing skills development and training of Bhutanese with the skills required in the construction sector as the reason for engaging foreign laborers in such a large number is because Bhutanese are not as well equipped with skills as compared to the foreign laborers.

Lyonpo also highlighted the importance of the management of foreign laborers.

“While we cannot completely stop the import of foreign workers, we can manage the number of workers and there will be a fixed ratio of Bhutanese and foreign workers so that Bhutanese can learn from them,” the minister said.

“Currently, we have to rely on foreign laborers to build houses, which requires the Bhutanese to pay a lot to outside workers,” Lyonpo said, adding that an Employment and Livelihood Corporation will also include foreign labor management.

MoLHR’s chief program officer said, “Foreign labor management will outline everything, such as how many skilled foreign laborers are required in the construction of a building and a ratio of skilled foreign laborers to Bhutanese workers.”

The minister further added that they have also initiated the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources Management Information system (MoLHR – MIS) where all job seekers are registered.

“The system will assist us in tracking the number of unemployed individuals and foreign workers, allowing us to plan and distribute the task properly,” Lyonpo added.

Meanwhile, an interim office has been already established in the ministry for two months and the Detail Project Report (DPR) of an Employment and Livelihood Corporation has also been completed, according to the Lyonpo.

“So we anticipate to begin the program by six months,” Lyonpo added.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu