Government to set up ‘labour bank’ to link employers and workersA labour ministry task force has recommended that the government establish a mechanism to maintain a real time database on workers and their skills so that employers can hire them when needed.
The government is preparing to establish a real time database to connect job seekers with prospective employers, and to help construct the country’s labour force profile, officials said.
The database, referred to as ‘labour bank’, will also be linked to the Employment Management Information System (EMIS), currently being used by employment coordinators at all 753 local governments to maintain a database of unemployed people and employment opportunities under the Prime Minister Employment Programme.
“For a long time, there has been a realisation that we lack data on the labour force available in the country,” said Suman Ghimire, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security. “Realising this fact, a task force, which was mandated to study the prospect of such a setup, has suggested that the country needs a labour bank,” Ghimire told the Post.
In its report submitted on Thursday, the task force had said that the labour bank would be useful in promoting employment in the domestic market and formalising the jobs of those engaged in the informal sector to ultimately bring them under the coverage of social security.
It said that the labour bank needs to maintain real-time data on qualifications, knowledge, skills, experiences and interest area of the labour force entering the market.
“The labour bank will work as a job matching system between employers, who need workers, and workers, who need jobs,” said Ghimire. “Whenever employers require workers with certain skills and experience, they will approach the labour bank and get the workers.”
The five-member task force report also said the labour bank could be a unique entity that can assist workers start their own enterprises through co-investments.
This comes as foreign employment recruiting agencies, which have been demanding that the government return their guarantee amount temporarily, have also been saying that the billions of rupees staying idle in government coffers could be channelised ino the labour bank.
“The idea of a labour bank has been discussed for a long time. The government can utilise the Rs4.31 billion that foreign employment agencies deposited as guarantees to develop infrastructures and conduct studies on the prospect of such an entity,” said Sujit Kumar Shrestha, general secretary of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, an organisation of the country's recruiting agencies. “Such a labour bank can also support workers and entrepreneurs through soft-loans.”
The government’s policies and programmes, presented on May 15, also said a labour information bank would be set up and the existing Employment Service Centre (ESC) at all local levels would serve as a link between employers and job seekers.
Presenting the budget for the fiscal year 2020-21, which prioritised massive job creation inside the country, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said the existing Employment Service Centres could be utilised as labour information banks from where private sector employers can hire workers.
Khatiwada said he has allocated a budget of Rs 1 billion to provide subsidy to firms that hire workers recommended by the centre. The government would provide 50 percent of the hired workers’ minimum salary for their three months if the employers guarantee a minimum of two years of employment.
The ministry has prioritised implementing the recommendations of the task force, which will begin with upgrading the EMIS, said Ghimire.
“The existing EMIS will be further upgraded and operated in collaboration with the provincial and local governments. We are seeking World Banks support to upgrade the system,” said Ghimire. “The EMIS Labour Bank will be an overall hub for employment for all. We will soon develop work procedures for operating the labour bank.”