Government plans to create 500,000 jobs in a year. Experts say it’s a daunting task.The government said in its policies and programmes unveiled on Friday that half a million jobs would be created from the next fiscal year to absorb the country’s workforce, which is spread to more than 100 countries.
The government said in its policies and programmes unveiled on Friday that half a million jobs would be created from the next fiscal year to absorb the country’s workforce, which is spread to more than 100 countries.
But experts say it is a daunting task unless the government comes up with clear policies and plans and sets up mechanisms to track new jobs.
According to the government, these new employment opportunities will be created in infrastructure development, industrial and service sectors. To meet the target of half a million jobs, the government is counting on Prime Minister Employment Programme, an ambitious scheme that will ensure minimum 100 days of work to unemployed people, as well as the private and public sectors.
“We really need to see the details in the upcoming budget to know the government’s strategy to create half a million jobs a year,” Chandan Sapkota, an economist, told the Post. “The government has not explained on what basis this target was set and how it is going to monitor the number of additional jobs created by public and private sectors.”
Since the minimum work-day scheme was launched, the government is said to employ nearly 100,000 people of the working age at the local level.
In the budget for the fiscal year 2018-19, the government allocated Rs3.1 billion for the employment drive. Even if the government meets its target via the employment scheme, the country will still fall short of creating 400,000 jobs.
Analysts say creating 500,000 jobs in one year is too ambitious a plan and that it could be yet another “populist move without the real strategy to achieve the target”.
According to the latest Nepal Labour Force Survey, carried out by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 11.4 percent people in the working-age group—nearly one million—are unemployed.
“There is a tendency in the government to declare grand schemes for popularity and stay quiet when it comes to reporting actual outcomes a year later. The policies and programmes do not state how many jobs were created in the fiscal year 2018/2019,” Sapkota told the Post. “We don't have a reliable or realistic mechanism to track additional jobs created by public and private sectors. And, the government doesn't report how many jobs were created vis-a-vis its target at the end of the year.”
But Janak Chaudhary, general secretary of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions, said the plan of creating half a million jobs is feasible.
“The government, in its programmes and policies, has talked about various projects like mining, railways, postal highways, and industrial corridors in all the provinces,” said Chaudhary.
“Therefore, the target looks both positive and possible. The real problem lies in its implementation.
Another question is how the government will manage resources for implementing all these projects. Looking at the pledges at the Investment Summit, it seems even the resources will be managed.”
A total of 48 applicants had expressed their interest in 31 projects during the two-day jamboree held in the Capital last month.
The minimum work-day ensuring scheme is collecting applications from interested people to join the scheme. The information will also provide data on the unemployed population.
However, registration under the scheme has received mixed responses across the country. The government has extended the deadline by a month so that more people can enroll while reliable data on the unemployed population can be gathered.
“While data collection under the Prime Minister Employment Programme has been sluggish, there is no other research on job creation,” added Chaudhary.
The government has also enlisted 13 probable sectors where the unemployed would get work.
Through this scheme, the government plans to engage unemployed adults in various sectors like agriculture and animal husbandry, forest and environment, and reconstruction.
Even if self-employed people are included and construction and tourism sectors boom beyond expectation, the target looks distant, said Sapkota