The outgoing Prime Minister, Dasho Tshering Tobgay during the last meet the press conference on Thursday 9 August said that in order to strengthen good governance and deepen democracy, the PDP government during their tenure strived to respect the constitution by abiding by the rule of law and making sure that the ruling government does not tolerate any corruption and respected checks and balances.
“We have also made sure that we respected the press freedom and always tried to support media whenever possible without the intent of pandering to the media. We have never tried to embrace journalists who has been supportive of our programs or never tried to ostracize journalists who are always critical about our performance. And we worked closely with the National Council without stepping on their mandates unlike the government before us,” said the president.
PDP also mentioned that they have always tried to harmonize the society by treating every citizen equally without discriminating them based on party lines and said that they have never engaged in favoritism towards party members.
“The main aspect of democracy is doing what you’ve pledged and fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Bhutan for the responsibility given in serving them for five years. In the context of Bhutan’s democracy, I cannot emphasize more on the importance of our fundamental duty to serve the King, Country and People.”
During their tenure, PDP said that they have strived to be fair and objective in strengthening democracy and good governance without differentiating people. “On one hand there are people going around the country accusing the government for sacking them out of a job because of political differences and on the other, former minister Yeshey Zimba’s brother has been promoted as Foreign Secretary, Wangdi Norbu’s brother too has been posted to Geneva as the ambassador, former Lyonchhen’s niece is the ambassador to New York and former opposition leader’s cousin is the labour secretary.”
PDP, however, acknowledged that during their term they could have engaged more often with the opposition to discuss on matters of consequence as a way of strengthening good governance. The president said that he initially implemented a program to meet with the opposition leader once every month to engage in healthy discussions but it had to be discontinued after few meetings. “So, I feel that I should have reached out to the opposition and followed up every month to better institutionalize the meeting for a healthy democratic system.”
Three main achievements being left behind
“One strong impression we are left behind during our tenure is always in striving to fulfill His Majesty’s aspiration and always serving the nation with His Majesty’s vision for our country at the back of our minds. I am satisfied that I’ve set a good precedence,” said Lyonchhen.
Dasho said he is happy that his government could serve the Tsa Wa Sum well. Dasho Tshering Tobgay said the second achievement is leaving behind a sound and stabilized economy as compared in 2013. He said that the 11th FYP has overall been successful, where fiscal deficit was much lower, despite the fact that the 11th plan had the largest budget outlay at Nu. 225 bn which is an increase of 52 percent.
“This can be attributed to prudent utilization of domestic revenues, and the government also received the largest external grants so far. Moreover, 12th FYP is a very ambitious but relevant, timely and potential plan as we would be graduating from the Least Developed Countries. We set a projected budget of Nu. 336 bn and there’s going to be a problem if the future government is not able to generate the amount. And we caution that the future government should not hesitate to revise the plan if they cannot get the financing,” said Dasho.
He said that the government has also strengthened the foreign relations and it is at the best level ever with India. He said that relations with China are also very good. He said that ties with donor countries like Japan and EU countries are also at their best. He said ties with Thailand have also been strengthened along with other countries in the neighborhood.
Dasho said that even the United States of America has faith and trust in Bhutan.
The former Prime Minister said that he is satisfied that his party has been able to deliver more than what has been promised and requested the future government to put behind personal motives and serve the King, Country and People with utmost loyalty.
“We have always served with humility but never tolerated corruption. And we’ve been able to harmonize societies without dividing the citizens based on regions or party lines,” reflected Dasho.
Dasho thanked the media for attending the meet the press regularly and asking questions including tough ones that put the government on the spot.