Bhutan needs to focus on two things: the governance which includes the security and sovereignty of the nation, and the other is the economic development through balancing its imports and exports, stated the Prime Minister in a nation-wide address broadcast on the national television on April 12.
Owing to these imbalances in the economy, he said, Bhutan is facing the current economic crisis.
He said that the majority of the population hugely depend on subsistence farming therefore they cannot afford to spend lavishly ; instead they have to save for retirement, their children’s future and paying taxes.
Lyonchen also mentioned that Bhutan spends a staggering Nu 470mn on importing meat and a colossal amount of 286mn on vegetables which can be produced even within Bhutan. He also reminded the nation about the harmful chemicals and pesticides used by people selling vegetables to the Bhutanese people adding that Bhutan spends about Nu 314mn alone on beer imports.
He emphasized the issue of youth unemployment, too. Bhutan still employs about 51,616 foreign workers. Lyonchen raised concern about spending around Nu 5 billion on fuels for more than 60,000 vehicles in the country while Bhutan’s hydro power projects generate an annual income of Nu 5 billion.
Lyonchen, regarding the rupee shortage, said that the Bhutanese should look at the root cause of the problem and work towards finding a proper solution. “We have to remember the lessons we have learned and work towards it; hopefully we will now change our habits of spending unnecessarily.”
Meanwhile, the government has been working together with the RMA and the private sectors for plans and policies to tackle the crisis. He mentioned that Bhutan first faced a rupee crisis in 1966 when the first bank in Bhutan went bankrupt in Phuentsholing.
Talking about measures to address the economic crisis Bhutan is facing, he said the government will be stopping the import of vegetables from May 5, 2012 and urged the farmers across Bhutan to meet the needs of the people. He also said that the government would be addressing the drug shortage. He offered his apologies to the people for the mistakes the government had committed.
Towards the end of his address, he mentioned about the success of the recent conference on well being and happiness at the UN head quarters. He said regardless of Bhutan being an independent country it is vital for the country to have appropriate recognition in the international community for its sovereignty.