Nepal’s Market Reeling under Acute Shortage of Skilled Workers as Nepali Youths Dream of Foreign Job

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Nepal’s Market Reeling under Acute Shortage of Skilled Workers as Nepali Youths Dream of Foreign Job

Bijay Damase

November 27: At a time when the Nepali youths are looking for greener pastures abroad, there is a severe shortage of skilled manpower within the country.

There is a shortage of skilled human resources especially in the field of gold and silver crafting business, construction, steel and grills industries, brick kilns, furniture, tailoring, scrap collecting and hair cutting jobs. These jobs are done by thousands of Indians from our neighbouring country.

These industries have to bring workers from outside due to the lack of skilled manpower in the country. This has resulted in large amount of capital flight from the country.

The number of Indians craftsmen, who make gold and silver jewellery, is significant in Nepal. According to the Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers Association, the country produces around 200 Nepali craftsman every year, but that number of manpower is not enough. According to the president of the Federation, Manika Ratna Shakya, the gold and silver business sector with an investment of Rs 1 billion employs around 25,000 workers. Sixty percent of them are Nepalese and the rest are Indians. Their monthly income is up to Rs 150,000. The average monthly income of a craftsman working in the gold and silver sector is Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.

According to Shakya, earlier Nepal was reliant on India for craftsmen. However, with the opening of training centers in Nepal in 2059 and the production of domestic manpower, the number of Nepalese craftsmen is increasing.

Brick kilns are also struggling due to the lack of skilled. There are around 300,000 workers in around 1,300 brick factories in Nepal, of which only 33 percent are Nepalese. The rest are Indians. According to Shankar Bahadur Chand, the founder of the Nepal Brick Industry Federation, all Indians work in the Terai region. There are some Nepali workers in the hill areas. He says that their income is between Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per month on an average. He also said that a large number of brick factories have been shut down due to economic recession. This has affected employment.

Nepal's construction sector is also facing a severe shortage of workers. According to the Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal, a large number of Indians have to be employed because there is not enough domestic workers, especially those specialized in handling equipment as well as plumbers among others.

There are about two million workers in the construction sector. The number of Indians is around 500,000. The monthly income of those workers is above Rs 50,000. FCAN President Ravi Singh informed New Business Age that Indian labourers work more hours than Nepalese. Since the Indian workers do not take vacations, take package jobs, and complete them on time, construction companies call upon Indian workers for work ranging from bridge construction to operating equipment.

There is also a large shortage of manpower in the grill sector of Nepal. According to Mohan Katuwal, founding president of Grill and Steel Traders Federation of Nepal, Nepalis are unable to continue working for a long time. According to him, the annual production of grill and steel sector is equal to Rs 60 billion. Around 55 percent of Nepalis and 35 percent Indian workers are employed in around 11,000 grill and steel factories across the country. The rest of the workers in this industry are from Bangladesh and China.

The average salary of one worker is around Rs 100,000 per month. Katuwal says that the average salary of a Nepali worker is Rs 50,000, but it is difficult to find Nepali workers. He said that it is easier to employ Indians than Nepali because Indians finish work quickly and do not take leaves. More than 60 percent of Indians are involved in cutting hair, collecting garbage, and making mattresses. Their monthly average earning is estimated to be above Rs 60,000. The government agency does not have the details of the amount these workers take to India annually.

Although workers from India and other countries are earning millions by taking advantage of the lack of manpower in the Nepalese labor market, Nepalis are not showing much interest in doing these jobs.

Even the top officials of the government say that there is an extreme shortage of skilled manpower in the country. Kewal Prasad Bhandari, secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, said that there is an extreme shortage of skilled manpower in the country. Addressing a program held in the capital recently, he said that while the number of people going to work outside Nepal is increasing, there is a shortage of manpower within the country.

Presenting a fact sheet, he said, “Around 7,500 people from Odisha state of India do plumbing work in Nepal. There is no account of their earnings. Furniture work is mostly done by workers from Bihar. Tile, marble works are all done by Biharis. Craftsmen is a gold and silver shops are from Gujrat.”

According to him, a study conducted 10 years ago showed that 2,300 tailoring shops operating in Kathmandu Valley had 80 percent of workers from Darbhanga, India.

"We have huge demand in the market, but there is lack of skilled manpower here," Secretary Bhandari said, "Nepalis are not interested in learning skill."

Many Nepalis go to work in foreign countries on a visit visa. Around 92 percent of them do not have any kind of skills.

According to Bhandari, although there is a legal provision to send workers for foreign employment only after training, the certificate of training is submitted only to fulfill the formality.

Secretary Bhandari also revealed that highly skilled human resources are also going abroad from Nepal. He says it should be stopped.

"If we call for applications for the posts of doctors, no one will show any interest here. There is so much demand all over the world," he said. According to Bhandari, there is an extreme shortage of trained manpower in the domestic market.


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