Bhutan’s Path to Prosperity: Private Sector Boom and Partnership with India

According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment (MoICE), the private sector investment is set to soar, potentially rising to 60 percent from the current 40 percent. This surge is expected to substantially boost the contribution of the private sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), aiming to elevate it to 30 percent from its current modest 6 percent.

Recognizing the myriad challenges faced by the private sector, the MoICE has embarked on an ambitious journey towards industrial rejuvenation through the development of an Industrial Transformation Map (ITM). Namgay Dorji, the Minister of MoICE, emphasized the necessity of this map to address pressing issues such as limited access to loans, bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining business licenses, and difficulties in acquiring government land leases.

To invigorate the struggling private sector, the MoICE has outlined a multifaceted strategy. This includes expanding international market reach, enhancing product quality and certification standards, fostering a conducive environment to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), nurturing startup culture, and bolstering industrial capacity, among other initiatives.

Addressing another critical bottleneck in the economy, the government is keen on fortifying the country’s payment gateways and point-of-sale systems. Currently, the absence of adequate payment gateways poses a challenge for both citizens and tourists, hindering international transactions and impeding tourism growth. The inability of Bhutanese establishments to accept credit card payments adds to these obstacles.

The majority of Bhutanese exporters rely on routes through India, including Samdrupjongkhar, Gelephu, Lhamoidzingkha, and Phuentsholing, to transport boulders to Bangladesh. A key demand from stakeholders in this industry is to identify the shortest and most efficient route.

Presently, the shortest route for boulder exports to Bangladesh is through Changrabanda in India, approximately 100 km from Phuentsholing and 74 km from Samtse. Another route, via Fulbari, lies 112 km from Samtse and 115 km from Gomtu.

Lyonpo Namgay Dorji expressed confidence in the enduring partnership between Bhutan and India, assuring stakeholders of collaborative efforts to address issues pertaining to boulder exports.

As Bhutan sets its sights on a future of economic dynamism and inclusive growth, the government’s proactive measures underscore a commitment to harnessing the full potential of the private sector while navigating the intricacies of global trade dynamics. With concerted efforts and strategic interventions, Bhutan is poised to embark on a new chapter of prosperity and resilience.

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