MoLHR responds to the RAA report

Usha Drukpa, Thimphu

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) pointed out ’57.6 percent candidates under Direct Employment Programs (DES) and Employment Skills Schemes (ESS) were not given job on completion of the program as intended.’
On the contrary, Chief Employment Officer of MoLHRs, Ugyen Tenzin says, “There are few reasons that that the candidates were not regularized through Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP)because at times, the company would close down going bankrupt, there were also some instances where candidates do not fulfill the GEP criteria which stated that the candidates have to work in the particular agencies for three more years, but if the candidates get better opportunities in different sector, the ministry considers them too.”
“If the ministry track those candidates then I am sure these people will be there working in some other agencies. I don’t think the candidates will be unemployed,” said Ugyen Tenzin. He further said that the ‘most important thing here are not the guidelines but to curb unemployment, thus letting a candidate secure a job that pays well.”
The Chief Employment Officer also explained that the Ministry undertook the responsibility of placing the candidates that could not continue work under GEP in those institutes that closed down into another company.
So far, the ministry faced fewer cases pertaining to such issues of not regularizing. Sources say the ministry has always noted down the cases and dealt accordingly.
The RAA report stated that 57.6 percent were not regularized. This is mainly because of the closure of the business or firms going bankrupt. However, the ministry has always been giving very special treatment to those unfortunate candidates by recruiting them to another firms or agencies so that they could still continue under the GEP.
He said our main objective was skills and employment for the unemployed candidates which meant the candidates does not have to work under the same agencies where the ministry has initially posted them.
“It is a problem if the particular candidate stays unemployed. But we have given the choice for candidates to move to other avenues if the firms we attach them are no longer functioning or gone bankrupt,” he said.
The Chief Employment Officer said that the Nu 89.32 million, which was used to train these candidates, did not go into waste because candidates have gained some experiences and skills which were also other objectives of the ministry.
As per the jobseekers projection, around 19,363 jobseekers are expected to come into the labour market by 2017-18. It is estimated that around 8,162 jobseekers will be absorbed by normal economic activities and about 4,100 through MoLHR’s different school-to-work transition programs such as skill development and internships.
The main objective behind the Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP) is providing skills and guaranteeing employment. MoLHR supports the salary of the candidates for a year or two on a case by case basis.
However, after the MoLHR withdraws its support, there have been instances where the employers were not able to regularize the candidates due to closure of business or bankruptcy. In such cases, the MoLHR tries to re-engage the candidate with another employer/organization.
Likewise, there has also been an instance where candidates previously enrolled under GEP get better opportunities in other sectors through their own initiatives.
Although the MoLHR does carry out monitoring and supervision, if a candidate finds better opportunities with higher salary and perks in another organization, the MoLHR accepts withdrawal of the candidate.
The ministry also gives salary support for a year or two depending upon the sectors such as the automobile and construction sectors. The main idea behind this is to instill some kind of skills to the employees.
Under construction (non-hydro), hydropower, media & entertainment, ICT and agriculture sectors has the highest number of candidates placed, followed by production/manufacturing, automobiles, retails & sales, education and green business.
However, sectors such as the government, corporations and SoE’s had the least number of candidates.

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