The opposition calls for an economic recovery plan

The opposition party Druk Phunsum Tshogpa has called on the government to focus on economic recovery and support to the private sector as the country prepares to transition on the COVID pandemic and return to normalcy. 

The party also asked the government to expedite the completion of the Punatsangchhu-II and Nikachu hydropower projects by mid-2023.

In a press statement issued by the party, it emphasised the disruption of the economy due to the pandemic and asked the government for a precise measure to achieve employment and revenue generation.

The party said the government must support agriculture, construction, hydropower, tourism and hospitality, small, medium and cottage industries, manufacturing and mining sectors with priority.

The Party said that the government should focus on efforts to streamline and augment exports, suggesting the government work on concrete fiscal and financial measures, both budgetary and taxation matters, and submit them to the parliament. “It should work closely with the central bank on monetary and credit measures.”

It states that the economic growth rate fell by 15.8 percent in 2020, from 5.7 percent in 2019 to negative 10.08 percent in 2020. The per capita income has fallen from USD 3400 to USD 3130, recording the fall below 2017 by USD 202.

DPT said, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has decreased from Nu178 billion (B) in 2019 to Nu 171B in 2020. Moreover, the youth employment rate will increase from around 12 percent in 2019 to 22.6 percent in 2020.

The domestic revenue for 2019-2020 fell short by around Nu 7 billion from the initial projection.

The domestic revenue is projected to fall by Nu 2,938M, from Nu 36,219M in 2019-2020 to Nu 33,281M in 2020-2021 fiscal years. It states that the shortfall could be worse given the experience of the actual outcome of the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The fiscal deficit for 2021-2022 is projected at a negative 8.59 percent of GDP, which, according to the party, is beyond an acceptable threshold and is worrisome.

Adding to the worst, the total resources, including grants and other financial support, is projected to reduce by Nu 11.3B, from Nu 56.7B in 2021-2022 to Nu 45.5B in 2022-2023.

The party in a separate statement also raised concern over the escalation of costs and delay in operation of many hydropower projects.

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