Saturday, July 4, 2020 | ePaper

Economic challenges of corona aftermath can only be met by knowledge and competence

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ACCORDING to the International Labour Organization (ILO) job prospects for the youth have been vastly reduced in Bangladesh. For youths to be provided paths for a positive future, education and skills training are essential. Young women workers -- who were already struggling in low-paid and informal sector jobs -- are being worst hit.
 The ILO is working together with the government to design and develop education and skills development schemes, entrepreneurship training, as well as employment and training guarantee schemes that specifically target young people, particularly those who are the most vulnerable.
But this will do little to help our young women workers -- who mostly work in the agriculture and RMG sectors. These sectors are currently experiencing declining demand for their products due to reduced demand for products in our RMG export markets like the EU and the US. This situation is unlikely to change for the time being because of increased skills and education training as there is an underlying demand deficiency in the economy -- but such skills building will help our workers in the long run. It's however difficult to understand just how many workers can be trained by ILO in the long run considering we have over 20 million female workers.
 Due to the rapid spread of globalisation a drop in demand overseas is leading to a drop in demand for workers in the RMG and other export oriented sectors. There is a significant negative impact of 'innovation in the production process' on the relative share of female employment. Such a finding indicates further obstacles to the expansion of female employment in future.
 In addition to RMG, leather, publishing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and cottage industry, and service sectors like IT, catering and restaurants, nursing, teaching, office administration, tourism, banking and fashion design, can act positively towards the expansion of female employment. There is a negative impact with regard to female employment on the demand side which is related to technological innovation or automation in the production process -- but that has been going on for some time.  
The advent of Covid-19 has changed the ways of running the economy. Due to the unpreparedness of the present government who will prepare the young ones for a good future?
 The government itself is broken with no institution functional. False hope has brought us to a situation where even the healthcare system is so disorganised that the people have no confidence for getting proper treatment. The government seems to be in suspended animation to be engaged actively in state activities. Our helplessness to survive under Covid-19 is shameful. This government has ruined the public trust. Days of naming anyone individual are past. We are all in it together and have to create conditions for the challenges that can only be met through knowledge and competence.

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