Employment services to be decentralized to the local government

The Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) shared its policy to decentralize employment services to local governments during the 21st Annual Dzongdas’ Conference held in Thimphu.

According to the MoLHR, the objectives to decentralization employment facilitation services to local government are to mainstream employment in local government plans and programs, which is expected to promote employment opportunities in each dzongkhag. The aim is also to retain the employees within the dzongkhags, which will mitigate the rural-urban migration. It is also directed towards developing employment- related projects and programs in all dzongkhags.

The Minister, MoLHR, Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, said, “The Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, alone, cannot solve the unemployment problem.

It is everybody’s responsibility. As government goal is to provide employment to all the youths, and we have policy to decentralize the employment services to local government.”

The Director, Department of Employment (DOE), Jamyang Galley, said the ministry is looking at the gender-wise unemployment ratio where women are more vulnerable. He said more focus is being placed on creating employment opportunities for women, as most of employment generated by economy is in hydropower and construction sector that is dominated by men.

According to the Labour Force Survey result, the highest unemployment rate is in Thimphu based on the residency record and not the census record. It was found that Trashigang has highest unemployed jobseekers based on the census registered with MoLHR followed by Mongar.

The Dzongda of Chukha, Pemba Wangchuk, said decentralization is a correct strategy as there needs to be a change in the policy. He said the main reason that the youth rush to the capital is because all the recruitment, like RCSE, short-term recruitment, like surveys, etc., are done in Thimphu.

“If the recruitment is decentralized to dzongkhag-level then we can keep the people in the respective dzongkhags,” he said.

The Dzongdag of Thimphu, Lhab Dorji, said providing the youth with 3 or 6 months pre-employment or apprenticeship program will not help in the unemployment scenario. He said MoLHR has to have serious discussions with RCSC to provide the power to the dzongkhags for employment services.

The Dzongdag of Mongar, Sherab Tenzin, said the generation of employment is dependent on investment, and the dzongkhags needs to have clear policies that allow for such investments to be made.

Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said apprenticeship and pre-employment program cannot solve the unemployment, but it will engage the youth in meaningful activities and to gain some experience.

The minister said there are regional offices in Trashigang, Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar and Phuentsholing to attend to jobseekers. He said there are plans to expand the regional offices in order to decrease the number of jobseekers coming to Thimphu for employment purpose.

The National Employment Policy of MoLHR states that the government has placed employment generation at the core of national and local socio-economic development planning to address the employment needs of its citizens particularly, the youth and vulnerable sections of the society. Each local government and dzongkhag shall be responsible for the creation of local employment opportunities.

The policy also states the government shall identify regions and dzongkhags with lower employment rates, less enterprises, high migration rates and high poverty levels and develop special employment promotion programs for these regions and dzongkhags.

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