Hydropower to continue to propel development
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.