Labour and Human Resources Minister Ugyen Dorji

Wage increment under BBP put on halt for various reasons: Labour Lyonpo

Addressing the questions raised by MP Drungtsho Karma Wangchuk from Chuming Ura constituency and MP Dupthob from Boomdeling Jamkhar cnstiteuncy on the unemployment issue in the Parliament, the Labour and Human Resources Minister, Ugyen Dorji, said that it is known to everyone that the pandemic has worsened the unemployment rate in the country.

As per the labour force survey report, the overall unemployment rate has increased by 5 percent, with the youth unemployment percentage at 22 percent.

“The unstable situation of the economy in the country is the main cause for unemployment. To solve the unemployment issue, we must make the country’s economy stable. We have initiated many activities, some are new while some are the old initiatives, to address the unemployment issue in the country,” Lyonpo added.

In response to MP Drungtsho Karma Wangchuk asked why has the decision on wage increment been put on halt by the ministry. Lyonpo said that the ministry had to put it on halt for the time being as the announcement on wage increment under BBP was made on December 2020.

Lyonpo said the country’s economy is not in a good shape due to the pandemic, and there are worries of wage increment within agencies including the private contractors of having negative impact rather than positive, he said.

Many research and meetings were done before taking the decision on the wage increment.  He said, “Today, if we are to calculate the amount earned by foreign laborers in the country, they earn more than Nu 30,000 a month. We felt that it would be unfair on our part if we fail to give the same amount to our own Bhutanese. ”

He added that the Bhutanese worker deserves the same wage, and as far as he was concerned, he did not see many people getting disappointed with their decision to putting the decision on halt for now.

Meanwhile, he said that everyone is thankful to His Majesty The King for his support during the pandemic. The government as a whole took various initiative to create employment.

The Finance Ministry has also instituted a National Credit Guarantee Scheme (NCGS), whereby they have approved 81 projects, and this is another way of creating employment opportunity, he added.

The government has also coordinated Economy Contingency Plan (ECP), he said, adding that through the BBP project they have engaged 1,400 youths.

Apart from those, he said, “Under the ministry, we could create employment opportunities through various schemes. In total, we have engaged more than 13,000 people under Critical Skills Training Program, Youth Engagement and Livelihood Program, Entrepreneur Development Programs and Coursera Skillshare programs.”

Lyonpo said that the ministry has engaged more than 1,400 people under BBP, of which 80 participants have undergone skills training program in various TTIs and were issued with an NC certificate. They also have instituted 38 specialized firms under the project.

“Our aim is to create our own labour force during such times, and in another one year, we may create another 1,500 job opportunities, taking it to 3,000 engagement under BBP. We all know the impact it would make on the country’s economy,” he said.

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