The Bhutan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) no longer has a President as of 1st December after the current President Ugen Tsechup Dorji, put up his resignation on 30th November 2015 and stepped down.
The BCCI Executive Committee is expected to meet soon to appoint an interim-President. After this an Annual General Meeting will be called where the resignation of the President will be put up and once accepted will lead to elections for a new BCCI President.
The President stepped down over growing frustration from BCCI that enough was not being done to help the private sector.
Ugen Tsechup Dorji said that it was important for people in positions of responsibility like him to take responsibility when things are not done regardless of who may be at fault.
Though the official reason being given him to leave was that he had not fulfilled the private sector aspirations, the real reasons are a frustration with the government and the system as a whole when it comes to dealing with the private sector.
He said that his parting words would be that at the end of the day private sector development is important for the overall economic development of the nation and therefore there should be a joint vision and collective thinking to support the private sector.
The BCCI President had publicly announced his resignation in September 2015 in an interview with this paper stating his reasons at the time to do so.
He had said that the private sector has been given several assurances that it is a priority but apart from verbal assurances not much had been done to address several issues.
The President at the time said that he was not blaming the elected government per say but the entire system which includes autonomous agencies, Royal Monetary Authority, departments, bureaucrats, red tape etc.
He said that despite several efforts and proposals from the side of BCCI to strengthen the private sector and business environment there has been little or no response and progress on important issues.
Various issues like the lack of a BCCI Bill, lack of acknowledgement of the BCCI’s Private Sector Development Way Forward report, no response on putting up concerns of small businesses in Dzongkhags, electricity tariff, excise refund, no industry status for the Film industry, lack of response on training and job counseling proposal from BCCI, lack of response from Agriculture Ministry on one district three products to help in food self sufficiency and etc were some of the cited reasons.
A major grouse for BCCI and various other private sector associations under BCCI has been that government agencies and companies are increasingly competing with the private sector with companies like the State Mining Corporation and Construction Development Corporation.
The ‘final straw that broke the camel’s back was the Gross National Happiness Commission turning down a Nu 80 mn BCCI building project proposed under the small development projects. The Indian Embassy had agreed to the project and also came up with the money but of the 15 annual projects the GNHC said that the BCCI building is not a priority. This was also in line with the government’s policy to not construct even ministry buildings to save on rupees.