Thank the private sector

Among the many reasons that the private sector has not lived up to its potential is a mix of lip service with no action, generally dismissive attitude and some jealousy from government officials.

It has been the traditional view that while civil servants serve the government and nation, the private sector are only out to make a profit for themselves.

As Bhutan is in the midst of changes it is important to reform the government mindset towards the private sector and also recognize its contribution to the wider society for there to be real change.

The tax generation role of the private sector is well known, but here it is important to note that a large chunk of the civil service would not get its pay if the private sector did not contribute its taxes.

The donor funds and large loans cannot be used for pay and current expenditure.

The other important role of the private sector is the generation of foreign exchange, and here the most important sectors are tourism, industries, cash crop exports, boulder exports and others.

While Bhutan gets foreign currency through loans and grants too most of it is sent out when projects are implemented as they entail heavy imports. However, this is not so with the private sector generated foreign currency.

So next time we buy a Television set or car or even some basic imported food items we should realize it would not be possible without the private sector as these have to all be imported using foreign currency.

Even when it comes to the deposit rates we get and the health of our Financial Institutions it is again the private sector that uses these loans that keeps the financial system healthy.

The private sector is also the biggest job generator in Bhutan outside agriculture.

We want the private sector to be able to invest. The private sector works quite well.
Maxime Bernier

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