PMEP to be promoted as major source of employment next fiscal

Kathmandu, May 25

The government is preparing to promote the Prime Minister Employment Programme (PMEP) as the major source of employment for those who have lost or will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 and for returnee migrant workers through the budget for the next fiscal year.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF), which is drafting the budget for fiscal year 2020-21 to be announced on Thursday, is expected to change the modality of the PMEP that was announced last year and make it the major source of employment for those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

“Thousands of people have lost their jobs due to the COV- ID-19 pandemic in the country and abroad, which has created new employment liabilities for the government. Though PMEP was announced to ensure basic employment opportunities for the jobless, discussions are underway to change the modality of this programme and incorporate all who have lost their jobs due to the ongoing crisis under this flagship employment generation programme,” informed a source at MoF seeking anonymity.

In a bid to make PMEP more effective, the government is also expected to raise budget allocation notably for the programme for the upcoming year. While the government had allocated Rs five billion for PMEP for this fiscal year, MoF sources said that budget allocation for the programme is expected to be more than double that for the upcoming fiscal year.

As the PMEP is being implemented across all 753 local levels in the country, the government plans to incorporate jobless people in this programme through local level governments.

For this, those who have lost their jobs due to the current crisis will have to register their names with the local government, following which local governments will ensure them a job for a certain period depending on their skills and expertise, as per MoF officials.

While the World Bank Group has also offered a credit line of $120 million to the government for effective implementation of PMEP and the government claims that thousands of people have already got jobs under this programme, PMEP has been dragged into controversy in recent months after the government was found distributing cash to cadres of the ruling Nepal Communist Party on the pretext of creating jobs for the unemployed. Moreover, it was also revealed that most of the beneficiaries of this programme were employed people.

Similarly, the government is also being criticised for haphazardly spending resources under PMEP and spending more resources on administrative works over employment generation.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 26, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.