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Seminar Report on Stepping into tomorrow's economy: concern of the stake holders

Organized by Center for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS)

6-7 May 2011, SAP Falcha, Babar Mahal, Kathmandu


Abstract

When the country has entered into the new political system and new constitution making process is running, people at large are concerned about future political situation of the country, particularly impact of the impending changes on their life. The key issues at stake are how new economic development would affect their life. Will there be the new employment opportunities? How will the issues of worker are going to be addressed? In this context, the vigorous discussion on the future economic policies is most. These discussions and interactions will help to generate new ideas and can contribute in the preparation for the new economic policy. The seminar and the interaction of this kind on different themes will help to collect different ideas from different interest groups and a concrete conclusion can be drawn which will guide us for to step into new economy of the country. Through the analysis of the present economy, the future economic policies can be formulated with the elimination of the shortcomings and focusing the sustainable economy tomorrow.

Introduction

Nepal has recently entered into the new political system with promises of federalism. New constitution making process has not been completed yet. So, the entire politics has set its prime priority to draft new constitution within the assigned period but that has not been the case so far. Since, the country is in the transitional phase, the political situation is unstable and the affect of it has led to the unstable economic condition, disturbed social environment and the confusion on the public as to what will be the future of the country and the people.

When the country will have the new constitution with the federal units in place, people are concerned as to what will be the new economic reforms, plans and the processes in this new state. The issues of economic development, educational plans, and employment issue have been the concern of people. Several discussions are being held. In this context, a deep discussion on Nepal's step into the new economy, the status of the employment opportunity in tomorrow's economy and the issues of employer and trade union will be very relevant and it will direct the way the new economy will be addressed.

The discussion on the same issue from different perspective will help to analyze the subject matter from all dimensions. Hence, the seminar had the four thematic paper presentations. The presentation had the following themes:

  • Nepalese economy and labor market in Nepal.
  • Tomorrow's economy and the employment opportunities.
  • Key issues of employer's into tomorrow's economy
  • Key issues of trade unions into tomorrow's economy.

Nepalese economy: critical overview

The economy of the country is said to be degrading which has been the concern of people, stakeholder and the state. The economic growth is very less and the economy has not been shouldered by the sustainable productivity. Due to the political instability, people are not finding the favorable environment to work so are attracted for foreign employment. Though, at present context, the remittance has been remarkably contributing to the nation's economy, but it is only for the short term. In long term, the foreign employment can't contribute in the sustainable growth of the economy. In the charm of remittance, we are neglecting the potentialities of youth being exported. Because of foreign employment, here we find the scarcity of workers because of which we are becoming very weak in infrastructural development.

However, the economy is not as poor as we see. Infrastructure in the rural areas has been developed. We have the road connection in most of the villages and districts. The people have been implementing modern technology in agriculture and they have been producing chain crops. The people returning from employment have started to invest the money in agriculture and self employment which inspires other youth also to remain in the country. We are growing but we still have to grow faster for the developed economy

Nepalese economy and the labour market

There are several problems and anomaly in the Nepalese economy in present context. The foreign employment has been prioritized in spare of the in country employment. The country's economy is highly dependent upon the remittance received from the foreign employment which counts of 23 % of the total economy. The dependency on remittance is very dangerous for the economic health of the state. There is a problem of growing unemployment and under employment and the gender inequality. The wages differentials are directly affecting the productivity. The informal sector is growing and the workers are victimized and the issues have not been addressed by the state's policy as well by the trade unions due to the increasing politicization of the trade unions and employers.

Stepping into the economy of tomorrow

For a sustainable development the workers and employer both should strike a right deal to push economic agenda ahead. The government should also have the strategies oriented towards sustainable development. Some of them can be:

  • To take the structural crisis by implementing international standard in the social and labour market policy.
  • To create job opportunities for all worker with a livable minimum wages.
  • Proper utilization of nation's natural and human resources for democratic equality especially for a low wage worker.
  • Proper utilization of nation's natural and human resources for democratic equality especially for low wage workers.
  • To expand social enterprises including nonprofit cooperatives, to support creation of self employed, job oriented and livelihood enhancing activities to provide equal access to social security i.e health , education and unemployment benefits.

The economy of the future will be based on participation on co- production of wealth and sharing of benefits between worker and employers. With the equal access to opportunities, resources we can have full employment and decent work both for men and women. The economically active group can be utilized and who can contribute toward sustainable economic growth.

Tomorrow's economy and the employment opportunities

The labour force participation rate is increasing. The women are also becoming economically active and the employment to the population rate is 61.5% .There is several sectors where the employment opportunities are and will be in the future. The prime focused area should be the agriculture, forest and soil conservation, industry, trade and tourism, irrigation, infrastructure development, foreign investment and private sector development. With the formulation of the effective economic policies as developing the agriculture sector, river training programs, youth empowerment and skill trainings, policies of local employment opportunities, the overall employment can be generated.

Key issues of the employer's in tomorrow's economy

The present economy of our country is characterized by the liquidity crisis in the banking sector, industries based on export being closed, low productivity and the purchasing capacity of the people going down because of the under employment and unemployment and above all the complicated unstable political situation which is causing the economic crisis. The future economy can be made sustainable by prioritizing the private sector that cares for people. There exist some challenges to the private sector in tomorrow's economy. They are:

The majority of the population is dependent upon agriculture , so shifting some share towards other sectors as industries , tourisms , infrastructure development for increasing the productivity.

For the sustainable economy of the country, the key concern should be focusing on export and establishing export based industries, increasing the competitiveness of the industries, ensuring the government policy, the modernization of agriculture and the formulation of the investment friendly policy will inspire the investors to invest in the fearless environment which will contribute to a sustainable economic development tomorrow.

Key issues of trade unions into tomorrow's economy

In the present context, there are less industries, the nation's economy is dependent upon the foreign employment which has created challenges to the trade unions to address the issues of the worker. The policy had not been worker friendly and the trade union in the present context has not been able to intervene in the policy. The productivity has not been increasing and the skills of the worker have not been the importance. So the effective leadership, effecting policy formulation should be the demand in the future economy. The trade unions should lobby for the creation of employment opportunities, the utilization of the youth energy, in the country's development, the implementation of the technology and the manpower capable of handling the modern equipments, improve the industrial relation and hence contribute for the increase of productivity. This can lead to a sustainable economic development tomorrow. So in the future economy, the trade unions should have the following key priorities:

  • To encourage the sustainable productivity by enhancing the qualitative and competitive traits and skill of the workers.
  • Dialogue with the management and organization for the implementation of the modern technology and promote the capacity of the workers to handle the modern equipments.
  • To enhance innovative thinking, skills, technology, diversified work and thought, professionalism, mobility and productivity.
  • To initiate to change the labor based economy into knowledge and technology based economy which will lead to the economic development of the country
  • To encourage the implementation of the modern technology in agriculture, animal husbandry, tourisms with the involvement of the youths.
  • To create the employment opportunities with the implementation of the information technology in all the economic activities and enhance the capability of the workers through focus in education.
  • To establish the industrial relations and the social dialogue and improve the productivity through the collaboration with the stakeholders concerned.
  • To support for the political stability through democracy, human right and personal freedom.
  • To develop the organizational capability for the expansion of the public investment, economic mobility, etc.

Summary

Presently Nepali economy is in dismal condition. Political instability has created uncertainly among workers and the investors. There are paradox between the abundance of labour (more than four lakhs young generation enter into the labor force every year) but still we face the scarcity of manpower in the country because more than 75% of them go for foreign employment as migrant workers.

Economy of tomorrow's requires the recognition of common interests of capital, and the minimization of the cost of participation in the production, distribution and sharing of wealth. The future economy of the country rests upon its different stakeholder. The core stakeholders who can contribute to the future economic development are the trade unions, employers, government and the general public. Through the effective coordination and the cooperation among them can ensure the increase in the productivity, industrial establishment, improved human development index in term of social security, job and justice and livelihood. This will in total lead to the increased economic growth of the country. For this, the new policy addressing to the investment increment in the fearless working environment, worker's right protection, gender equality and skill enhancement of the people should be formulated and implemented. With the union of trade unions and employers on common economic agenda of industrial peace can offer them choice and the unity will enable them to be stronger for generating the changes oriented towards the growth of the society and bring the full transformation.

Conclusion

The seminar was a successful in terms of the themes discussed, the interaction and the conclusions made. The themes discussed will really be the contributing milestones for tomorrow's developed economy.

Recommendations

The economy cannot grow in the situation of uncertainty, without social support of workers and the cooperation of the general public. All the stakeholders should mutually share the responsibilities for the growth of the economy. The report strongly recommends the following stakeholders to be responsible.

To the Government of Nepal

In the present context the policies are not labor friendly, they are not effective in terms of incorporating more people into effective work and increase in productivity. For the sustainable economy in the future, the foreign employment should be discouraged from the policy level. The workers right should be ensured, the private sector investment should be encouraged through guarantee of protection. The policies with the economic priorities will be effective in economic reforms in the tomorrow's economy.

The trade unions

The trade unions should first focus on the workers unity rather than the ideological disparities. To reduce the threat upon the workers in tomorrow's economy, the skill enhancement of worker, the capability to tackle the modern technology should be the priority. The trade unions should initiate the harmonious industrial relation with the employer. The trade unions should change the traditional ideologies and the goals with the good industrial relation should be set up.

Employers Group

The country's economy is highly dependent upon the investment of the employers. The stakeholder should also excurse the new dimensions of investment. The investment in the agriculture, infrastructure development can be the focus. Also, the present context of poor industrial relation can be troublesome to boost the industry in future, so with the mutual coordination with the trade unions group, the organizational development can be obtained which will finally decrease the productivity. Also, discouraging the migration of the workers will also be the good initiation for the sustainable economy which can be done by the employers group.

 
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