Hy­dropower to con­tinue to pro­pel de­vel­op­ment

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Hy­dropower gen­er­a­tion is ex­pected to con­tinue to present tremen­dous de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the coun­try for the next few years, ac­cord­ing to a re­port jointly pre­pared by the Min­istry of La­bor and Hu­man Re­sources (MoLHR) and World Bank.

The re­port on Bhutan’s la­bor mar­ket to­wards gain­ful qual­ity em­ploy­ment re­leased on 16 Novem­ber in Thim­phu aims to pro­vide ro­bust ev­i­dence to in­form the government’s pol­icy mak­ing re­gard­ing the crit­i­cal la­bor mar­ket is­sues.

The hy­dropower is ex­pected to lead to a large in­crease in ex­port rev­enues and sus­tained eco­nomic growth. The World Bank es­ti­mates that the elec­tric­ity ex­port earn­ings will in­crease from less than Nu. 20 bil­lion in 2015 to more than Nu. 67 bil­lion in 2019 and Nu. 145 bil­lion in 2025.

The re­port high­lights that the de­vel­op­ment of Bhutan’s hy­dropower gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity will have a di­rect im­pact on sev­eral key macroe­co­nomic in­di­ca­tors.

The snow- fed rivers with con­sid­er­able hy­dropower gen­er­a­tion po­ten­tial in the coun­try are es­ti­mated to gener- ate 30,000 megawatts (MW).

Of this po­ten­tial, 1,606 MW are al­ready op­er­a­tional and an ad­di­tional 3,153 MW are pro­jected which is ex­pected to be on line by 2018. 2,170 MW is ex­pected to be gen­er­ated shortly.

“The con­tri­bu­tions of hy­dropower to eco­nomic growth will mostly come from the boost,” the re­port states. Hy­dropower is also ex­pected to give ag­gre­gate de­mand dur­ing the con­struc­tion phase of the dif­fer­ent projects and the ad­di­tional rev­enue.

Be­sides, hy­dropower gen­er­a­tion is ex­pected to add an ad­di­tional per­cent­age point to the an­nual eco­nomic growth from 2013 to 2019.

With the hy­dropower projects in the pipe­line and un­der con­struc­tion, GDP per capita is es­ti­mated to dou­ble within 15 years by reach­ing $ 6,000 by 2030. It is also ex­pected to con­tribute to con­tin­ued rapid poverty re­duc­tion.

It is also ex­pected to cre­ate more job op­por­tu­ni­ties for the youth. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the new jobs for about 120,000 job­seek­ers en­ter­ing the la­bor mar­ket need to be cre­ated in the 11th Five Year Plan from 2013 to 2018 to achieve the tar­get of full em­ploy- ment.

The cur­rent over­all un­em­ploy­ment rate of 2.6 per­cent is rel­a­tively mod­est by in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

MoLHR’s vi­sion is to pro­vide a na­tion in which all its cit­i­zens have the op­por­tu­nity for a gain­ful and qual­ity em­ploy­ment char­ac­ter­ized by har­mo­nious and pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship in the work­place and the broader com­mu­nity.

The national em­ploy­ment pol­icy is to achieve full, pro­duc­tive, mean­ing­ful, high lev­els of hu­man de­vel­op­ment and con­tribute to the max­i­miza­tion of the Gross National Hap­pi­ness.

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