Manpower crunch hits construction

The construction industry is facing acute labour shortage.“Nepali workers hardly fill up 60 per cent of total demand,” said Yakshya Dhoj Karki, president of Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN) at a programme aimed to balance demand and supply of construction sector workforce. Large construction projects are largely dependent on workers from India, he said.

Nepali construction industry needs 11,00,000 workers for large construction projects but the supply is limited to around 6,00,000 to 7,00,000. “We don’t have a database of Nepali workers with their skill-set, said Saroj Kumar Upadhaya, executive chairperson of CEMECA Human Resource Academy Pvt Ltd. “Therefore, we are going to build a strong database with the help of government and non-government organisations,” he said.

According to Council for Technical Education & Vocational Training (CTEVT), 80,000 Nepalis have received training in various vocational programmes and another 51,000 have got skill license from National Skill Testing Board (NSTB). But there is little information on the whereabouts of those who received training. “We don’t know where they are? We are looking for them to give them work,” said Upadhaya. Nepal does not have a prosperous future without managing the labour force properly,” he said.

Five agencies including the government have joined hands to promote training and relevant work. Nepali construction sector needs up to 400,000 skilled workers — overseers, sub-overseers and others. But only half the number is available in the market. Nepali construction sector does not face much problem in recruiting skilled professionals but middle and lower level professionals are hard to find. “Current, lower grade workers can be upgraded by providing training to them,” said Karki.

“The government is aware of its role. Strategic employment training will be started from next fiscal year,” said Kamal Raj Pandey, Joint-Secretary in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works. Employment Fund (EF) has joined hands with FCAN, NGOs and governmental agencies to support the training programme.

EF willingly supports any training that creates employment and supports people directly, said Siroco Messerli, team leader of the fund. Around 450,000 Nepalis enter job market every year and 300,000 leave the country for overseas jobs. Nepali industry and the service sector employ around 40,000 workers nearly 60,000 remain without work every year.

source:The Himalayan Times

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