Industrial hub of Morang faces shortage of skilled workers

- Dev Narayan Sah, MORANG

Feb 5, 2017-

Eastern Nepali district of Morang, one of the largest industrial hubs in the country, is facing acute shortage of skilled labourers, prompting enterprises here to rely on Indian workforce.

The shortage has been felt at a time when thousands of Nepalis are leaving the country for labour destinations like Malaysia and others in the Gulf every day in search of jobs that yield meager income.

“The government appears to be engrossed in production of doctors and nurses. But nobody has taken initiative to churn out skilled labourers who are crucial for industries here,” said Bhim Ghimire, senior vice president of the Chamber of Industries Morang (CIM).

Most of the enterprises, from jute mills to steel factories, in eastern Nepal are facing shortage of skilled labourers, according to CIM President Mukesh Upadhyay.

A survey carried out by Biratnagar-based Employment Information Centre in 120 enterprises in Morang and Sunsari showed that most of them had not been able to hire skilled hands. To fill this gap, most of the enterprises are relying on Indian workers, the survey found.

“I didn’t come across a single skilled technician while conducting the survey,” said Mahendra Prasai, a consultant at the Employment Information Centre. “So, most of the enterprises have hired technicians from India.”

Gradually, the practice of deploying Nepalis as assistants of Indian technicians is helping enterprises in eastern Nepal to produce skilled human resources, according to Prasai. But this is only a stopgap measure.

“This calls for diversification in vocational courses, which currently appear to be limited to training people to become electricians, beauticians and garment designers,” Prasai said.

Over the years, dozens of government and non-governmental organisations have been operating skills development programmes in the eastern region of Nepal. But courses offered by most of these organisations are identical, resulting in production of skilled or semi-skilled workforce with similar types of skills. 

Besides, many of those who have taken part in these programmes have failed to land a job or create self-employment opportunities. 

Considering these problems, the Employment Information Centre was established in Biratnagar around nine years ago, with the objective of connecting employers with unemployed workers having certain set of skills. But the centre has been unable to meet its goal so far, as it has only been able to find employment for 14 workers so far.

One of the major reasons for the failure of the centre is lack of awareness about presence of the matchmaking body in eastern Nepal. 

An unemployed local, Ram Prasad Yadav, said that he had never heard of the centre that can help him find potential employers.

To address this issue, the centre will be taking part in Birat Expo, a job fair, from February 22 to February 28, which will bring potential employees and employers to a common platform.

“But those looking for jobs should also be proactive,” said Prasai, who has come across numerous unemployed people, who register their names at the centre and disappear. “They should at least come into our contract when we are looking for them.”

Published: 05-02-2017 09:27

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