Dear fellow private sector friends,
With 40,000 business licenses and up-to 160,000 people earning a living from it, you are second in size only to farmers and contribute the bulk of the national revenue.
Your taxes (CIT, BIT, Sales Tax, PIT, Customs etc) fund the government and will also help fund the new hike for civil servants.
I personally feel our public servants need a hike, especially our doctors and teachers, and so no issues there.
Most of us will not be able to give generous hikes like the above due to scarce resources and we know our colleagues and employees will be the most hard hit from increasing rents, cost of living etc.
I think we can live with the above as the private sector thrives, survives or even dies based on its own ability and productivity.
However, it is perhaps time to ask a few questions of the government (DPT, PDP and now DNT) and demand answers.
One question is why are we treated like second class citizens compared to government employees in everything from protocol to state policies ?
Another is on why despite being called the ‘engine of growth’ there are no real and effective policies to enhance private sector growth ?
Why is there still so much red tape ?
Why do we have to bow low to government officials to even get basic mandated services ?
Will the above hikes result in better services or productivity ?
Why are we all seen as being untrustworthy or not as patriotic as civil servants ?
Why, despite consuming very little of public resources compared to civil servants and farmers and paying the most tax -we are still seen as not doing our part ?
Why are government companies increasingly encroaching into our domain wherever they see a little profit (and it does not help that the government openly favors these companies) ?
Why is there an attitude to shut down entire sectors of the economy instead of closing the loopholes and strengthening regulatory systems ?
Despite the ACC and RAA reports showing the most corruption and irregularities in the government sector the private sector is regarded as being untrustworthy. Why is this so ?
How does any government plan to solve the unemployment issue without the private sector growing ?
Things will not change as long as political parties don’t take the private sector seriously.
They only take public servants and farmers seriously as they are powerful voting blocks. The former due to postal ballots and the latter due to size.
So my dear private sector colleagues, sit helplessly and continue enjoying your second class citizenship till the day the private sector is ready to impose political costs on any party ignoring this important segment of the Bhutanese population.
By Tenzing Lamsang
The writer is the Editor of the paper and the views are his own.