Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said at the 16th meet-the-press session held on 7th that although the employment issue was not on the upcoming parliament’s agenda it doesn’t mean that the government understated the situation. Ministries have been spending a lot of time on the issue and what the achievement will be revealed in the State of Nation Report that will be published during the session, he said.
Responding to the accusation by Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), againt the government on unemployment, the PM said “I think their remark is wrong”. The report will clarify why unemployment keeps staying high in the country as well as what the government is going to do to tackle the problem. He emphasized the government has a concrete long vision and the entire cabinet is involved in an effort to improve the situation. The measures include the Economic Stimulus Plan, the Guaranteed Employment Program, the Oversea Employment Program and the establishment of Bhutan Opportunity and Information Centre.
In the press release issued earlier DNT urged the government to develop a long-term strategic plan to address unemployment, pointing out that the government would not be able to solve the issue within the five years of its mandate under the current circumstances. Therefore effective measures must be taken through the involvement of relevant agencies including all political parties.
DNT argues the government has been rather lackadaisical when it comes to implementing substantive initiative to address the issue of unemployment in the country. The unemployment benefit scheme introduced by the authority is “myopic at best and irresponsible at worst” it says.
“The only visible actions taken are the Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP) and Youth Employment Scheme, both of which are short sighted, temporary measures to manipulate the employment statistics,” the release states.
DNT said the government’s much-touted Overseas Employment Scheme is also failing with allegations of misinformation and fraudulent practices.
DNT pointed out that unemployment was the biggest challenge Bhutan was likely to confront in the next few years. Currently 8,591 young people are looking for job, according to the Ministry of Labour, which DNT says could be a conservative figure. The party said that the government is aware that only 42,000 jobs are available against the requirement of 82,000 by the end of 2018, when the PDP government’s term ends.