An Ambitious Roadmap Towards Full Employment and Economic Transformation

In a bold stride towards economic rejuvenation and social equity, Bhutan has unveiled its blueprint for the next five years, setting forth ambitious targets aimed at reshaping its economic landscape. The draft of the 13th Five-Year Plan (FYP) outlines a comprehensive strategy to elevate Bhutan into a thriving economy with a GDP target of USD 10 billion by 2027. Central to this vision is the commitment to achieve nearly full employment, ensuring that 97.5 percent of the population has access to quality jobs that offer security and prosperity.

Currently, Bhutan faces a pressing challenge as many of its youth seek opportunities abroad due to a shortage of viable employment options at home. The pandemic exacerbated these issues, highlighting vulnerabilities in the economy and underscoring the need for robust reforms. The draft plan acknowledges these realities, emphasizing the imperative to create a conducive environment where every Bhutanese can build a stable future within their own country.

To equip its workforce with the necessary skills for the 21st-century job market, the government has pledged a substantial investment of Nu 10 billion through the ‘Twenty-First Century Skilling Programme’. This initiative encompasses a comprehensive overhaul of the tertiary education system, enhancements to technical and vocational training, and a renewed emphasis on lifelong learning. These measures aim not only to bridge the skills gap but also to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, crucial elements for sustained economic growth.

Moreover, the plan underscores the pivotal role of the private sector in driving economic expansion and generating employment opportunities. By fostering a more inclusive and dynamic business environment, Bhutan aims to catalyze job creation across various sectors, thereby reducing dependency on public sector employment.

Recent statistics from the National Statistics Bureau paint a sobering picture of the current employment landscape. The unemployment rate has risen marginally to 4.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, reflecting ongoing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Particularly alarming is the youth unemployment rate, which surged to 22.9 percent during the same period, highlighting the urgency of targeted interventions to empower Bhutan’s young workforce.

As Bhutan navigates the path towards economic resilience and social progress, the 13th Five-Year Plan represents a pivotal moment in its developmental journey. By prioritizing job creation, skills development, and private sector engagement, Bhutan seeks not only to bolster its economic foundations but also to ensure that prosperity is inclusive and sustainable for all its citizens.

In the coming years, the successful implementation of these initiatives will be critical in realizing Bhutan’s vision of a prosperous nation where every individual can contribute meaningfully to and benefit from its economic growth.

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