Labor dept to be restructured into labor and employment dept
KATHMANDU, Aug 12: The Ministry of Labor and Employment is mulling over restructuring the Department of Labor to the Department of Labor and Employment as it seeks to make adjustments following inclusion of the employment component in the ministry.
The government had restructured various ministries in the first week of May after which the Ministry of Labor was transformed into the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Since then, the ministry has already decided to create a new division under it to solely look over the country´s employment sector.
“To execute policies formulated by the division the government will soon need a different department. But instead of creating a new one, we are planning on restructuring the existing labor department to the Department of Labor and Employment,” Labor Secretary Som Lal Subedi told Republica. “Once we make this change, similar adjustments will be made to labor offices across the country.”
The labor department currently oversees 10 labor offices located in different parts of the country.
“Once these offices are given the additional responsibility of looking over the employment sector, they will start analyzing the situation of the domestic labor market to help the ministry formulate policies to better accommodate people joining the job market every year,” Subedi said.
Currently, 400,000 people enter the job market every year but hardly 50,000 get absorbed. The rest either leave for greener pastures abroad, remain unemployed or underemployed, and accommodate themselves in the informal sector. Because of this situation, it is said over 30 percent of the working population are either jobless, semi-employed or are forced to take up jobs that do not match their qualification.
The government is currently mulling over rectifying the situation by rapidly extending vocational and skills development trainings to as many people, as one of the reasons for the growing unemployment and underemployment situation in the country is said to be lack of skills in human resources. This, in turn, has generated shortage of skilled human resources in the job market, according to Subedi. Besides, past records show that people who have taken vocational education can easily sell themselves and get better treatment at workplaces.
“This calls for the need to establish as many training centers depending on the demand of jobs in different areas,” Subedi said, stressing the need to operate “demand driven projects”.
The government currently operates 16 skills development training centers, including one in Kathmandu. These training centers provide training to around 25,000 people per year. But since those located outside Kathmandu Valley are not as active, the one in the capital alone generates more than half of the total graduates.
However, the training center located in the Valley is working on an ad-hoc basis and lacks long-terms vision as 95 percent of the workforce at the training center are on contract basis.
“To give it more teeth and allow it to introduce effective programs, we are planning to convert the center into a semi-autonomous body soon,” Subedi said. “We hope this will partially fill in the gap created by shortage of skilled workers in the country.”