'Country needs to create 2.3m jobs annually'Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka
The country needs to create 2.3 million jobs each year against a total national unemployed of 25 million people and over 1.8 million youths coming to the job market during the period, finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said in Dhaka on Sunday.
‘Theoretically the unemployment rate is over 5 per cent, but practically it is close to 30 per cent. We need to create 2.3 million jobs per annum against 1.8 million youths coming to job market and 25 million more people who remained jobless for years already,’ he said while speaking at a technical session of a two-day international conference at a city hotel.
More than 80 delegates from 60 countries are attending the conference on ‘Peoples’ Empowerment and Development’, a model proposed by prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the 66th United Nations General Assembly last year. The model has already been approved as an agenda by the second committee of the United Nations.
Muhith said Bangladesh exported an average half a million people for overseas jobs each year, but bulk of the workforce remain unemployed. The service sector, he said, though provides the large amount of jobs in the country, much of them earn less than two dollars a day.
‘By and large, agro-processing and manufacturing are the most potential areas for large scale job creations,’ he said adding it’s time to put equal emphasis on domestic consumptions and exports. Investments in labour-intensive ventures for local consumptions would boost domestic production and create employment, he said.
The minister also attributed unemployment as a logical reason for ‘very cheap’ higher education opportunities in Bangladesh public universities and colleges and said education for ‘skilled workforce’ needed to be pursued instead of so-called graduates from general educations.
Former adviser to the caretaker government and a key business figure Manzur Elahi said both traditional agriculture and service sectors had been saturated with large number of employment and now it was time to shift focus to ‘manufacturing’ base.
He said only 22 per cent of labour force was employed in formal sector, while rests were in the informal sectors, where agriculture had the leading role with low productivity and low earnings.
‘It is my belief that the majority of the new jobs for all in Bangladesh can and must come from manufacturing,’ he said in a written statement, adding the growing demand at local levels would contribute to the sustenance of many manufacturing industries in short, medium and long terms. He suggested for investments in agro-processing, fresh fruits and vegetables sectors.
India’s rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said his country had made mix of technology and manual labour for both growth and job creation.
He said the developed world should open up their markets for labour force from developing countries, but they were only interested to ensure free flow of their capitals to third world countries.
Ramesh said India had made success in creating temporary employment for 50 million households through social safety net programme and Bangladesh could also think of identical programmes for the poor. He also suggested for creating ‘green jobs’ through clean developments.
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