KATHMANDU: How many Nepalis are unemployed? Nobody knows the actual figures. The government does not have cold facts
or data. “I cannot state the
unemployment status of Nepal,” said Amal Kiran Dhakal, acting director general of the Department of Labour (DoL) and who is responsible for knowing the statistics.
DoL, running the Employment Information Centre (EIC), has listed around 10,073 Nepalis as unemployed while the labour force survey of 2008 identified 2.1 per cent of the country’s population as unemployed. According to the survey, around 5,00,000 Nepalis are unemployed.
The erstwhile Maoist-led government had started EIC to explore the Nepali labour market last year after allocating a Rs 7.64 million budget. It was a priority project among 59 others last year but it could take off due to the fall of the Maoist-led goevrnment this May.
Dhakal said, “EIC data does not show the reality. The country needs a comprehensive data base of the labour market. We have not reached ground reality.” If the government wants to get real picture EIC should be linked with skill development and job programmes that can give direct benefit to the people, he said.
Low listing in EIC indicates that the government ought
to link it with employment
opportunities. EIC registration shows a clumsy picture of job recruitment.
Karnali, the least populated zone has third highest listing of 1,524. Mahakali and Rapti zones are in first and second place with 2,192 and 1,766 listings respectively.
Highly populated zones Mechi, Koshi Bagmati, Lumbini have listings below thousand. Only 83 people are listed as unemployed in Janakpur and 108 in Gandaki zone. DoL is expecting double digit figures by the end of 2009.
“We have a new mechanism that could double the digits,” said Dhakal. DoL is coordinating with district development committees and village
development committees from this fiscal year.
Around 4,00,000 Nepalis enter the labour market every year and half of them are hired for overseas jobs. Nepali industrial and service sectors consume around 20,000.

Zone EIC unemployed
Mechi 118
Koshi 350
Sagarmatha 459
Janakpur 83
Bagmati 408
Narayani 358
Gandaki 108
Dhaulagiri 1,068
Lumbini 388
Rapti 1,766
Bheri 761
Karnali 1,524
Seti 490
Mahakali 2,192