Ambitious 13th Five-Year Plan to Propel Economic Growth and Social Development

In a landmark announcement yesterday, Finance Minister Lekey Dorji unveiled Bhutan’s highly anticipated 13th Five-Year Plan, marking a significant milestone in the kingdom’s path towards economic transformation and sustainable development.

With a staggering budget outlay of Nu 512.28 billion, representing a remarkable 63 percent increase from the previous plan, the government aims to propel Bhutan into the ranks of high-income countries by the plan’s culmination. Central to this ambitious agenda is a targeted GDP of USD 5 billion, underpinned by innovation and sustainability initiatives across key sectors.

Addressing parliament, Minister Dorji underscored the plan’s strategic allocation: Nu 456.34 billion from available resources, with the balance to be covered through deficit financing. Domestic revenue, projected at Nu 327.34 billion, and substantial grants totaling Nu 125 billion will play pivotal roles in funding critical developmental initiatives.

A significant portion of the budget, Nu 267.28 billion, is earmarked for current expenditures, including essential allocations for salaries, allowances, and interest payments on hydro-loans. Meanwhile, capital expenditures amounting to Nu 245 billion will be financed through a combination of revenue surplus, grants, and concessional borrowings, reflecting a balanced approach to fiscal management.

The 13th Plan outlines a comprehensive strategy centered around enhancing societal well-being and economic resilience. Emphasizing equitable access to healthcare, education, and social protection, the government aims to strengthen national sovereignty, security, and economic prosperity while fortifying Bhutan’s cultural heritage and global standing.

Minister Dorji highlighted the plan’s alignment with international commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), affirming Bhutan’s dedication to sustainable development, human rights, and environmental stewardship.

“We are adopting a four-cluster approach to foster synergy among economic, social, security, and governance sectors,” Minister Dorji explained, noting the plan’s emphasis on public sector transformation and data-driven governance reforms.

Economically, the government aims to achieve robust GDP growth, with targeted strategies to boost productivity, diversify markets, and amplify contributions from key sectors. Socially, improvements in healthcare, education, and social safety nets are poised to elevate living standards and empower communities across Bhutan.

Fiscal prudence remains a cornerstone of the plan, with the projected fiscal deficit carefully managed at Nu 55.93 billion, equivalent to 2.97 percent of GDP. External borrowing, primarily from institutions like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, will supplement domestic financing through government bonds and treasury bills, ensuring a balanced fiscal strategy.

As Bhutan charts its course towards 2029, the government anticipates public debt to stabilize at approximately 94.8 percent of GDP, with prudent management strategies aimed at sustaining economic stability and safeguarding future generations.

With optimism and resolve, Bhutan embarks on this transformative journey, guided by principles of sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience, setting a precedent for balanced growth and societal well-being in the region.

For Bhutan, the 13th Five-Year Plan represents more than just economic figures; it symbolizes a collective commitment to shaping a prosperous and harmonious future for all Bhutanese citizens.

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