KATHMANDU, July 2: Lack of skilled human resource in the construction sector has led the country's construction companies to hire laborers from India. However, as the government has recently made it mandatory for workers of any sector to acquire a Permanent Account Number (PAN), the contractors are not so sure about the implementation of the policy as the construction sector has a large number of Indian laborers.
"In this context, not only getting PAN, but also registration of employees with the social security fund is a challenge for the construction sector," said Rosan Dahal, secretary general of the Federation of Contractors' Association of Nepal during the National Labor and Employment Conference-2019.
Speaking during a panel discussion on 'Work Culture and Dignity of Labor', Dahal said that ensuring occupational, health, and safety facilities for workers and staffs can help in developing good work culture.
"Entrepreneurs have to spend most of their time in developing products, providing skills to the staff, and finding potential markets. We expect the government to help us find local raw material so that local products could be manufactured with economy of scale, in an organized way," said Prasanna Basnet, founder of a startup cotton mill in another session of the conference, 'Youth Employment in Nepal'.
Promotion of local products is the government priority as well, as stated by Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada in the budget speech for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019/20.
The discussion also focused on lack of access to resources for the entrepreneurs from the rural areas. 'We cannot compare the entrepreneurs of Kathmandu with the entrepreneurs from the rural areas. Most of the women and youth don't have land in their names and there is no proper ecosystem for entrepreneurship,” said Pukar Malla, Founder of Daayitwa.
Similarly, in a session focusing on 'Job Skilling in Nepal', Neena Joshi, an expert on job skills, highlighted the potential of Visit Nepal 2020 for job creation. "In other countries, people start new ventures and enhance their skills targeting big forthcoming events like the Olympics. Likewise, it is high time to brainstorm job creating ideas and enhance skills for the opportunities to be provided by Visit Nepal Year 2020."
Though the two-day conference had a good participation from startup founders, entrepreneurs out of Kathmandu, students and representatives of trade unions, very few representatives from the private sector and almost none from multinationals participated in the event.
Utilization of the knowledge and skills from returnee migrants were also discussed during the conference. Commenting on unsystematic migration in Nepal, Shreejana Rana, president of Hotel Association of Nepal, advised the government to come with measures to update the skills of any educated person who moves outside the country for work and study.
Bhaibhav Poudel, director of Hotel Barahi, Pokhara suggested the government to conduct research and create a platform for the returnee migrants in a way to fully utilizing their knowledge and skills within the country.
The conference, organized by the government with an objective to identifying opportunities and gaps for employment creation and developing dialogue led consensus towards tackling pertinent labor and employment issues in Nepal, concluded Monday.