Expresses concern over youth unemployment
Lyonchhen in his State of the Nation Report (SOTN) said the government has accorded the highest priority on creating employment opportunities during the 11th Plan, resulting in the reduction of overall unemployment figures from 2.9% in 2013 to 2.4% today.
However, youth unemployment which was 9.6% in 2013 has risen slightly to 10.6%.
He said this is on account of the increasing number of students completing school.
In the 11th Plan. 76,000 students completed school and entered the workforce.
During the same period, 74,000 new jobs were created in the civil service, corporations, armed forces and the private sector with more than 5,000 existing vacancies.
The Ministry of Labor and Human resources directly facilitated the employment of 32,000 youth.
In monetary terms, Nu 1.2 billion was spent to support various employment schemes such as the direct employment scheme, apprenticeship training program, university graduate’s internship program, pre-employment engagement program and overseas employment scheme that directly benefited 27,000 youth.
Further, to create attractive jobs for the youth, 9 State Owned Enterprises were established providing 5,500 jobs. There are still 500 vacancies in the SOEs.
Recognizing that jobs needed to be created not just in urban areas but also in the grassroots and villages, for the first time the government directed the Dzongkhags to focus on creating jobs.
During the five years, around 8,200 jobs have been created in Dzongkhags, mainly by helping establish cottage and small industries.
Lyonchhen said the Dzongdas and local government must be acknowledged in their efforts to create employment.
He said this approach should be continued going forward as it is the responsibility of every stakeholder to create meaningful jobs for our people.
“We already see that the youth are now starting to return to villages to take up farming and agri-businesses. This is good news and the local governments including the Dzongkhag administration have a big role to play in supporting them,” said Lyonchhen.
The Government is already supporting 1,800 youth who have taken up farming in their communities. In addition, His Majesty has commanded for a Land Use Right system for youth interested in farming. Through this initiative, 52 youth are currently cultivating 60 acres as the Land Use Right pilot projects. “We envisage that such projects will be tremendously successful and beneficial in addressing youth unemployment,” said the PM.
The PM said youth unemployment is a concern for everyone. According to the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan, there are a total of 5,371 unemployed youth in the country. Of these, 3,208 unemployed youth are in urban areas.
However, there continues to be more than 5,000 vacancies in corporations and the private sector which can still be filled up. “If an office job is not preferable, there are many opportunities to work abroad.” said the PM.
Currently there are 5,400 youth working overseas with many more vacancies.
“You can work for a couple of years, gain experience, save money and return to Bhutan to contribute to nation building in your own ways. You can also consider starting you own business,” said Lyonchhen.
“The environment could not be more favorable to start a business in Bhutan with processes becoming easier, interest rates becoming cheaper and other enabling environment having been put in place. As His Majesty so rightfully commanded to the Ministers and MPs at Tashichhodzong, Thimphu, 29 July 2013,” said Lyonchhen.