Photo Courtesy: Jetset Times

PM blames past, pandemic and Ukraine war for private sector woes

The Khar-Yurung Constituency MP Tshering Choden said the national vision is for a developed Bhutan. Accordingly, in 2029 the GDP should move from USD 2.5 bn to 5 bn and to USD 10 bn by 2034. The aim is to also provide 97.5% employment.

She said to achieve this aim private sector development is very important as the private sector is the engine of economic development.

However, these days the private sector is in a very bad shape as after the pandemic the private sector has not been able to recover and many business outlets are closed and for others the limited revenue is hit by the government’s increased taxes.

She said if people want to start a new business the banks are not giving loans and so many private sector people are moving abroad to the middle east and Australia.

She said one example is in the tourism industry and particularly for small and medium hotels and even private schools who have had to close.

She said a new strategy is needed to improve the private sector and so what strategies and policies are implemented by the government for the development of the private sector.

The Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering said if the private sector cannot make revenue then taxes will not be imposed. He said this is the fifteenth year of the Parliament and the issue of developing the private sector has been discussed many times and it is also known how much the private sector actually developed.

He said the question is on what the policies to improve the private sector but in fact the government as come up with many policies and if one cannot see them then one won’t know.

The PM said that of the many new policies one is on tourism and here some are happy with it while others are not.

He said those unhappy with it are those whose income are impacted and here the government can do nothing but apologize, but at the same time this policy will have long term benefits.

On private sector development he said the same questions and answers have been there across three Parliaments and the private sector will not develop if the entire mindset to the problem is not changed.

The PM said the situation before and now is not the same.

He said the pandemic impacted the entire world including Bhutan and just when the pandemic was receding there the Ukraine war came up and oil prices shot up impacting the private sector and individuals.

He said when the world opened up the developed economies had a skilled labour shortage and they are meeting that by importing workers from poorer countries which has also had an impact.

He said the lack of private sector development then and now cannot be compared but he welcomes new ideas.

The PM said the private sector cannot be developed overnight. He said that the fact that people can still get three square meals show the situation is not that bad and that things will only get better year by year.

The PM said the aims of the 13th plan and the intended results of the transformation will bring future benefits and development.

The PM said His Majesty The King is making long visits abroad to strengthen the country’s future.

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