The Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering informed the government and the executives on the Phase 2 of the Economic Contingency Plan (ECP).
Phase 1 of ECP consisted of projects for construction sector, agriculture and tourism. The projects are to be taken into Phase 2 with a slightly different model and longer-term view.
“In Phase 1 of the Economic Contingency Plan for tourism sector, the immediate attention was required for building tourism infrastructures and maintaining trekking routes,” Lyonchhoen stated, and further said, “However, we cannot only keep working on the trekking routes and beautification works because if there is no or very limited turn out for tourism business in the upcoming 2 or 3 years. It would go in vain.”
PM added that a long-term vision was required, and therefore, the government is currently planning to improve the ‘high-end destination’ concept, and that the government would inject funds accordingly on strategically developing the tourism product.
Lyonchhoen said that normally, without the COVID-19 effect, the country’s unemployment count would have been in between 8,000 to 10,000 youth but around 13,000 have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and about 8,000 coming back from abroad would add up to around 30,000 people who would have to be placed for jobs.
He said that this is another concern, given the situation, that the demand for jobs have increased by a multiple of three, and on the other hand, the availability of jobs has decreased by three fold.
PM said, “If this trend continues, work space will shrink by 10 percent, and if all have shrunk, by that the job seekers will have increased by three folds.”
Lyonchhoen said that there are other major concerns, which His Majesty had foreseen and had previously stated about ‘economic crisis leading to social crisis’. It means that people may lose their jobs and then they would not be able to make the ends meet. Even if the people did go out for jobs, they might have to return home without one.
He said that if such a crisis happens in the economy then the people would not follow the health precautions, and that they would over rule the law, which would result in people coming into conflict with the law and order.
PM added that another concern was for the agriculture food production, which was mandatory as the government aims to reduce food import and become self-reliant. But given that many people are keenly taking up agriculture and backyard gardening, PM said that there might be difficulties for producers to sell their produce.