POST TIME: 28 November, 2020 05:15:20 PM
Self-employment and government’s assistance
Due to coronavirus pandemic, the job market in Bangladesh, as in the globe, is shrinking over fears of an imminent global recession which could run for an indefinite period.
Dr. Mir Mahfuzul Haque

Self-employment and government’s assistance

Unemployment is an economic problem in a country when a large number people are unable to secure job because of the lack of employment opportunities. Bangladesh's unemployment rate dropped to 4.15 % in Dec 2020, from the previously reported number of 4.19 % in Dec 2019. Bangladesh's unemployment rate is updated yearly, available from Dec 1991 to Dec 2020, with an average rate of 3.93 % (World Bank).

Due to coronavirus pandemic, the job market in Bangladesh, as in the globe, is shrinking over fears of an imminent global recession which could run for an indefinite period. Therefore, job opportunities in industries, factories, banks, business institutions, private offices and government offices have reduced abruptly. So, youths are deprived of getting jobs. Unplanned quota system shrinks government job for the youths. But the number of job seekers are large than the posts. So, they have a limited scope to meet competition.

Lack of quality education skill will not help the youth community to face competition at home and abroad. Plan-wise job-oriented and specialized syllabus and curriculum have not been introduced from secondary to higher education levels. A large number of job-seekers also do not have information on job opportunities in various sectors due to lack of availability of information. Lack of transparency in the cases of recruitment and selection in almost concerned organizations is also a cause of disappointment for meritorious youths.

Process and conditions of loan sanctioning is complex with administrative delay influenced by bureaucratic complexities and red tapism. Banks and other financial institutes disburse loan by generally high rate of interest. Women youths are always envisaged by humiliation, molestation and so on in transportation, road and working place.

On the occasion of marking “Mujib Year” the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized employment generation for the youths by self-initiatives instead of depending on government job only. In this regard, the youths are urged to invest capital in the multilateral scopes to expand the job market of the country using their innovative ideas, talents, efficiency and strengths. The prime minister asked the youths to have self-confidence and self-dignity and to take freelance changing customary mindset in order to earn money.

The state minister for information and communication technology assured the youths that ICT-based industries in the country will create jobs for two million unemployed youth by the next five years which will contribute up to five percent of the GDP in 2021. As the huge portion of the population left the cities due to the coronavirus lockdown, the youth and sports ministry has already taken up a Tk. 70 billion rural based project to create self-employment and alleviate poverty. On the occasion, about 1.2 million youths will be self-employed.

They will receive training, mainly on agriculture and fisheries, so that they will create jobs for themselves instead of getting frustrated. The young entrepreneurs will get soft loans of up to Tk. 100,000 under the project. Not only that, recently the government has taken an initiative to establish separate ‘directorate of employment' and a separate 'employment wing' under the ministry of labour and employment to supervise the activities of the directorate. The directorate would conduct research to provide new employment, establish a database and build up skilled workforce.

It may be suggested that quality education should be ensured with giving priority to technical and vocational education areas in order to create employment generation from the part of both government and private sectors. In this connection, concerned trainees will be trained at free-of-cost on regular basis for skill development. In the case of appointment, qualified and meritorious candidates should be selected following fair, transparent, impartial and credible policies.

Job opportunities and vacancies should be announced through various types of media. There should be more information centres in the remotest parts of the country.

In curriculum from school to university, practical based syllabuses should be prepared so that the students of business faculty could gather knowledge about business ideas to be efficient and successful entrepreneurs in future. Syllabuses of other faculties should also be revised on specialization. Students and proprietor could exchange their views regarding emerging job market. The teachers should have to counsel their students to build up their future career from a very early age.

Bureaucratic red tapism should be eliminated and loan sanctioning process could be easier so that youth entrepreneurs can receive loan for investment. Nowadays, access to information technology like computers and broadband internet should also be increased in the rural areas for creativity and innovation. Programming and coding should be included into mainstream education system in order to increase the probability of getting jobs.

Exotic job opportunities could be innovated through reducing migration cost so that youths from poor families can get opportunities to take jobs as migrant workers. Various anomalies of human traffickers like fraudulence, corruption and so on should be thoroughly eliminated. Already a large number of our population have been working in foreign countries through which Bangladesh have been earning foreign remittance. But now, Covid-19 makes obstacle to earn remittance.  The government, the private sector, and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could take measures together through which Bangladeshi migrant jobseekers abroad could improve their skills and ensure their safety. The returnee migrants should be reintegrated into the economy through self-employment opportunities.

Preventive measures for security and safety should be ensured in order to restore congenial atmosphere so that the female youths will conduct their business activities in the labour market free from mental and physical agonies. Reliable and affordable daycare centres for children will also be established to encourage them to participate in the labour market. The government, the private sector and other proprietors have to ensure their safety at all levels.

The writer is a retired Professor of Management & Principal. Email: [email protected]