The Prime Minister (PM) at the Meet-the-Press session held yesterday stated that the Build Bhutan project under the Economic Contingency Plan (ECP) will require imported skilled workers initially as there are not enough Bhutanese skilled workers to be employed as full-fledged workforce in the construction sector.
In consideration of that, he revealed that the government is currently under discussions to bring in a few workers from outside so that they could provide the skills assistance to the Bhutanese workers.
“Even as it is now, we have to compromise on normalcy and have to make do with less number of workers. For example, if a construction site requires 10 people, we could import 5 or 6 and the rest could be filled in by Bhutanese workers,” PM said, and further added, “A lot of Bhutanese can take up gainful employment under these works.”
Lyonchhoen stated that the Build Bhutan project was discussed in presence of the private sector, and currently the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) is in the process of listing, and has already carried out surveys and found if Bhutanese workers take up the work then there would not be the need to import such large foreign workforce in the future.
However, on behalf of the MoLHR, the PM said that, the ministry is mostly concerned about Bhutanese people not willing to take up these jobs.
PM said that whenever the Labor Minister consults any place or private sectors, he always asks on how the government could assist them in terms of construction works.
PM then laid out some suggestions made by the private sector, which consist of request for higher wages, skilling of mechanisation works and proper personal protective equipment and an enabling work environment.
He also stated that the government might have to assist the sector in revolutionizing equipment and other things in order to make the work more attractive.
PM said, “For instance, instead of hammering the nails, if we could use nail guns.”
He said that the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) and MoLHR are currently looking into the dynamics of these things, and if possible, they hope that instead of an entire unit for construction works, if there could be specialized teams of people doing specific tasks, like plumbing, water works, fire-works, cement works, tiling or any other work, it would be a more ideal solution.
The government is currently they are looking into solutions for 3 main areas under this project which entails employee retention, people’s interest towards such jobs and skilling-up to be job fit.
He added that the Build Bhutan project does not limit only to construction sector but would also gradually cover up other areas, like the automobile sector in the future.