BCCI President Tandy Wangchuk

BCCI President hopeful that reforms in CS will translate to a better business environment

Pema Choki/ Thimphu

The private sector is hopeful that the current reforms in the country will help to further develop the sector, especially after weathering the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the key challenges faced by the private sector are limited access to finance and restrictive measures on access to convertible currency, high cost of labour and administrative procedures for businesses stemming from conflicting provisions in policies and regulations, high logistics costs, lack of quality infrastructure, lack of policy coordination, and limited access to international markets.

Given the challenges and constraints, the President of the Bhutan Chamber for Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Tandy Wangchuk, said his hope of reforms is that it will bring in development for the private sector.

He said, “From the overall economic development perspective and the private sector development perspective, in particular, the reforms initiated by the government is a long awaited dream. While we have seen government taking reform initiatives before, such reforms could not bring expected outcomes and impact.”

“The silo approach and the compartmentalization within the government agencies acted as the main hurdle to bring the expected outcomes. With the new reform initiatives, I sincerely hope that much hyped reform process brings clarity and consistency in implementation, and brings in anticipated results,” he further added.

With the Private Sector Development Committee (PSDC) established and handed over to BCCI from 2019 to bridge the gap between the private sector and the government to address problems related to private sector, PSDC has been defunct for more than two years, according to the BCCI President.

He said, “PSDC is the one of highest body of BCCI, and if it were active, it would have discussed and addressed many issues. If the meeting was held right after the pandemic, many things could have been addressed.”

“When you talk about the development of any economy, it has to be the private sector. The private sector in our country is clamped down due to policies and regulations, and I feel it should be a bit flexible for the private sector to grow. If the private sector grows, the economy grows and the country grows,” stated a BCCI official.

According to the BCCI President, with the government transitioning and bringing in reforms, BCCI is also responsible to help the government in the smooth transition.

“There should be an inclusive consultation where we can address the problems and help with policies and regulations,” he said and further added, “With challenges in terms of finance and now with the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) being waived for only established Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies, it is discouraging for young entrepreneurs and startups with good ideas.”

“There is a number of institutional reforms, especially through the organizational development exercises for the civil servants. Right now, we are hoping for the reform to be private sector friendly so that we can develop our economy,” he shared.

“If such developments are put forth, we can create better opportunities and better salaries for our people, and then maybe, we can stop our people from going outside,” he added.

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