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Youth unemployment rate up by one percent

Instead of youth unemployment rate plummeting, it has gone up by one percent because of the increase in the number of students completing schools and around 76,000 students completing school and entering the workforce in the 11th Plan.

This is according to ‘The State of the Nation’ report, which was presented by Dasho Tshering Tobgay during the 11th session of the parliament Thursday. Youth unemployment rate, which was 9.6% in 2013, has gone up to 10.6% today.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay 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% as of now.

According to the report, in the 11th Plan, 74,000 new jobs were created in the civil service, corporations, armed forces and the private sector with more than 5,000 vacancies.  It further stated that the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) has directly facilitated the employment of 32,000 youth.

In monetary terms, according to the report, Nu 1.2bn was spent to support various employment schemes such as the direct employment scheme, apprenticeship training program, university graduates internship program, pre-employment engagement program and overseas employment scheme that benefitted 27,000 youth.

Lyonchhen also informed the house that nine State Owned Enterprises were established providing 5,500 jobs and that there were still 500 vacancies.

And given that jobs needed to be created in the grassroots and village, apart from urban areas, Lyonchhen added that the government for the first time had directed the Dzongkhags to focus on creating jobs.

It was mentioned that around 8,200 jobs have been created in Dzongkhags during the five years; mainly by establishing cottage and small industries.

Lyonchhen also informed that the government is already supporting 1,800 youth who have taken up farming in their communities, and 52 youth, through His Majesty’s Land Use right system, are currently cultivating 60 acres in the Land Use Right pilot projects.

“We envisage that such projects will be tremendously successful and beneficial in addressing youth unemployment,” he added.

The report also mentions that there is a total of 5,371 unemployed youth in the country as per the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan. And of these, 3,208 unemployed youth are in urban areas.

However, Lyonchhen said that there continues to be more than 5,000 vacancies in corporations and in the private sectors which can still be filled up and that if office job was not preferable, there are many opportunities to work abroad.

“Youth can work for a ouple of years, gain experience, save money and return to Bhutan to contribute to nation building in their own ways. You can also consider starting your own business, “ Lynochhen said, adding that there are 5,400 youth currently, who are working overseas, and that there were many more vacancies.

However, former labor minister and MP Dorji Wangdi of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa told Business Bhutan that addressing unemployment is one of biggest failures and worst performances of People’s Democratic Party.

He said the overall unemployment has increased from 2.1% in 2012 to 2.4% in 2017, youth unemployment from 7.3% to 10.6%, and the urban youth unemployment from 13.5% to 16.7%.

Yenten Thinley from Thimphu