Investing outside Bhutan

A set of old rules drafted all the way back in 1993 prohibits ordinary Bhutanese and Bhutanese companies from investing outside Bhutan.

The logic at the time which still holds among some officials today is to prevent the flow of Bhutanese funds outside and also encourage people to keep their funds in the country for domestic investment.

This situation may have been warranted at a particular stage of our growth, but the time has now come to do away with such antiquated rules when droves of Bhutanese are instead heading out and sending in money or our companies are exporting goods and services to earn revenue.

The only way for Bhutan to move ahead in its development paradigm is to join the global economic and supply chain.

It cannot do this by building a wall around itself and then croaking for investors to come in.

Foreign investment, be it by companies or individuals must be allowed.

People and companies have funds to invest but as pointed out by the MoEA the small economy of Bhutan offers limited options to invest.

As a result, there are heavy investments in non productive sectors like land or real estate artificially pushing up prices and leading to valuable resources being trapped and speculated upon. This is not desirable for economic or social stability.

Bhutanese as a people are extraordinarily patriotic and eventually even those working abroad want to come back.

It makes a lot of sense to allow ordinary Bhutanese to desist from just buying another unproductive plot of land to heat up the housing market and instead allow the person to invest outside in shares and stocks so that they get much better returns and income which will come into Bhutan.

Quite a few of these people have the chances of doing really well and that will only generate wealth and liquidity within Bhutan.

If Bhutanese companies are to really grow and compete outside, then they should also not be restricted by such rules. They should be allowed to invest outside and form join ventures to do business outside.

“It’s not how much money you make, but how hard it works for you.”

Robert Kiyosaki

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