Vice Presidents voice in unison to address rising unemployment

The alarming youth unemployment rate of 28.6% in the country is a harrowing scene to look at which needs to be rectified by all means possible. This was resonated in unison at the hallowed hall of Motithang High School on Thursday as Vice Presidents (VP) of the five political parties locked horns on their respective pledges to curb the scenario of growing unemployment in the country.

The VP of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Dasho Sonam Kinga outlined the party’s commitment to fostering employment opportunities in the burgeoning digital economy, promising to generate 1,000 jobs annually. DNT targets to bring Nu 100bn in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by 2034. Emphasizing the promising prospects within Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and entrepreneurship, he also highlighted DNT’s plan to allocate a startup fund of Nu 0.5mn, reflecting the party’s dedication to fostering innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives.

The party not only has plans to assist Bhutanese seeking opportunities overseas, but also expects that there would be employment opportunities in the private sector with the budget outlay of Nu 512bn in 13th Five Year Plan.

Pema Tenzin, VP of Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) unveiled an initiative aimed at addressing the pressing concerns of the nation’s youth. The new political party plans to establish a platform called ‘YES’ directly under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), dedicated in resolving the myriad issues faced by the young individuals in the country.

He also emphasized the critical need for employment opportunities among Bhutanese youth, revealing that over 5,000 graduates annually seek employment while only approximately 1,000 secure government positions. To bridge this gap, the BTP pledges to create temporary job opportunities, ensuring they have avenues for sustainable employment before securing permanent positions.

BTP committed to support resources in enhancing sports sector to create employment opportunities. The party aims to facilitate avenues for youth to excel in sports, not only as a passion but also as a potential source of livelihood. The party will be engaging youths and guiding them well so that they don’t engage into drugs, beside TVET and providing minimal interest rate loans.

Ugyen Wangdi, VP of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) reflected on the party’s significant achievements during their tenure, successfully having halved the unemployment rate, reducing from 24% to 12%. As a pledge for this election, DPT has vision for empowering youth, offering career counseling services, providing targeted training programs for both school dropouts and graduates, aiming to equip them with the skills necessary for professional success.

Constructing three new hydropower plants, establishing regional tech parks, and launching startup centers across the nation will address the unemployment problem, according to DPT. Additionally, the party aims to streamline access to loans and foster skills development, ensuring that aspiring youths and individuals have the resources needed to thrive.

With Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa’s (DTT) ideology, ‘Nation first, Youth foremost’, the party’s VP Chenga Tshering, said if elected, the party will provide an advanced vocational education and comprehensive skills development as integral components of tertiary education.

DTT pledged to facilitate additional scholarships in collaboration with esteemed international vocational institutes for certifications where marginalized youth will be provided equal opportunities.

Dasho Dorji Choden, the VP of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) articulated a robust vision centered on empowering Bhutan’s youth through strategic initiatives and tailored programs. At the forefront of their agenda is a pledge to implement comprehensive skilling programs alike TVET. This approach aims to equip graduates with practical, in-demand skills that align with the dynamic needs of the job market, fostering a smoother transition from education to employment.

Acknowledging the trend of youth engagement in online business, she emphasized the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in the country’s economic landscape. To bolster this sector, the PDP commits to augmenting credit facilities, providing vital financial support that enables young entrepreneurs to thrive and innovate in the digital realm.

PDP envisions a proactive approach to address both employment and essential services needs in Bhutan. One such initiative involves the establishment of manufacturing firms geared towards supplying goods to hospitals and schools.

Meanwhile, the five vice presidents assured that whatever their respective parties might be doing, it is all with a united vision for the welfare and betterment of Bhutan and its people. Where most of their pledges collide, the VPs reasserted that it only means their parties are working for a cohesive and united dream.

Sonam Yuden from Thimphu