Industrialization & Economic Prosperity through Skills Development and Employment Creation

– Er. Ravi Mainali

Nepal is facing big challenges on poverty and unemployment due to political instability for the last almost two decades. Now after declaration of new constitution, new Government has formed and almost settled the unrest situation after long protests in Tarai Region. Therefore, this is high time now to explore the opportunities on country’s accelerated economic growth so that how quickly we address and rehabilitate the most burning issues.

Nepal is producing about half million unskilled labor force and going for overseas employment and they all are naturally & unfortunately assigned for 3Ds (Dirty, difficult and Danger) works as they don’t have any skill and competency for higher level or safe/easy jobs. Everyday 1200 to 1,500 people are going abroad for unskilled employment and on an average 2 dead bodies are received back to country unfortunately. However, on the other side, it is noted that foreign employment has been contributing almost 25% GDP as a national income.

In this scenario, how can we accelerate the skill development activities massively? So that more and more skilled & competent manpower can be developed towards employment/self-employment/entrepreneurship within the Country. This will ensure better livelihood of poor people. Thus, Technical Education & Vocational Training (TEVT) comes in the main picture. There is a strong need of proper institutionalization of TEVT massively to create huge mass of skilled manpower for creation of better employment opportunities within the Country and abroad. However, some training programs are supported /organized by some international donor agencies like ADB, World Bank, UNDP, SWISS Contact etc, but, which are not enough for all potential people. Nepal needs to attract more and more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to invest in employment intensive industries in order to create huge number of employment. It is noted that One important criterion for attraction of FDI in Nepal is availability of expert/skilled local manpower. It is bitter fact that we have very less number of expert/skilled local manpower as we have to mainly depend on India and other countries for very common skills like tailoring and construction works. There are no close interfaces between Academia / Training Institutions-Industries. We all must identify gaps between the expectations of industries management from Graduates and courseware/competency level of trained Graduates. There might be requirements of entire restructuring/transformations of hardware & software of teaching-learning methodologies like Competency-Based Training (CBT) in order to get prepared our Graduates for globally competitive employment market. In fact, competent human resource strength was well-demonstrated by South Korea four decade before when this country was poorer than Nepal in the context of self-reliance. Therefore, South Korea got great success to invite huge numbers of FDI towards massive industrialization and employment that lead to present prosperous Korea.  Similar situation for our country would be very conducive environment to attract FDI for rapid industrialization and employment creation in order to develop peace & prosperous Nepal.

Actually, all engineers can play vital role for all aspects nation building and developing process. More importantly for TEVT sectors, we all engineers from all stream/faculties may be instrumental to promote skill development and employment creation through TEVT activities on various trades and occupations. Basic infrastructures like uninterrupted sufficient supply of electricity, proper road access, communications, quality & productivity policy and investment friendly labor policy & laws etc are prerequisite requirements to attract Foreign Direct Investments. Especially, Industrial Engineers can play pivotal role to have proper advocacies on those issues in order to promote congenial industrial environment.

Now, the post conflict national movement should be “Movement for Economic Prosperity” without much delay. Our country is much behind in productivity & prosperity as compared with other neighboring countries in South Asia. Bhutan is much ahead in hydropower and it is self-reliance on energy and there is no load shedding in all over Bhutan. Over 90% surplus energy is sold to India. Due to surplus energy and massive tourism promotion in Bhutan, it has many fold higher Per Capita Income as compared to our country. There are many large establishments of multi-national corporations at southern Bhutan as there are good infrastructures set up like uninterrupted electricity supply, good road access and communications etc.

 All engineers as catalysts for nation’s development, we must explore many possibilities to create multiplier effects on economic prosperity like hydropower development, tourism development, modernization in agriculture, herbal processing and other manufacturing of basic consumable commodities with better quality and productivity so as to compete in export market across the region. Moreover, climate of capital city Kathmandu is God gifted place neither hot nor cold throughout the year. Therefore, we may have great potential to promote sports tourism, religious tourism, education tourism and other adventurous tourism. Nepal can have great privilege of having great market potential in India and China to tap more than one-third population of the entire world with a privilege of short distance transportation. Our labor market is considered as cheap and people are honest also. If we can produce and deliver quality products in competitive prices, we have our domestic market for 28 million people and in all across South Asia and China covering more than one-third of global population.

To sum up above, all Engineers should have proper vision how to get prioritized for developmental movement of the country. We all should align and integrate with all concern stakeholders towards economic prosperity with tangible outcomes.

  • Er Ravi Kumar Mainali- President; SIDEC-Nepal

(Energy Efficiency & Productivity Expert)