Setting the right priorities
Besides giving priority to the health sector by the newly elected government, they had also pledged for the economy that narrows the growing income disparity between the have and have-nots.
The government pledges to keep our economy secure by developing an inclusive, sustainable and equitable economy that contributes to GNH.
The government plans to create a vibrant economy and a fairer society with decent livelihood opportunities for everyone, irrespective of backgrounds. Given Bhutan’s limited financial sector and its currency being pegged to the Indian Rupee, the government attention will be to build a robust economy that, in the long run, contributes to the country’s long-held vision of self-reliance.
Priority sector lending (PSL) scheme is a good opportunity for enhancing income of farmers and youth, the government wants to improve and expand PSL scheme by generating awareness, open information centres at gewog and chiwog levels and keep procedures simple and minimal.
The government has plans to establish POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) distribution network at various strategic locations and regions of the country to meet growing demands from business centres and communities. It will not only boost the economy but will help in efficient and reliable transport services.
The government would expand the manufacturing sector to make it an important contributor to GDP, towards achieving this, the government pledges to support establishment of import substitution industries such as construction materials, wood-based industries, paper and agro-industries among others.
Private sector investors will receive technical and administrative assistance and fast-track procedures will be instituted to accelerate their establishments.
In order to eradicate poverty within the next five years by review resource allocation framework to enable local governments with high levels of poverty and absence of infrastructure to receive additional development funds.
The government pledges to strengthen hydropower development projects by completing the ongoing construction of Punatshangchhu I and II, Nikachhu and Kholongchhu projects of a combined capacity of 2,326MW.
This includes the 720MW Mangdechhu hydropower project due for completion in December 2018. With inclusion of Sankosh and Kuri-Gongri projects, which are already in the pipeline the total generation capacity grows to 5,264MW resulting in more than 100 percent increase for export.
The government plans to review prevailing taxes and tax bands to ensure the wealthiest Bhutanese do not pay less than hard working middle class to bridge the gap and sustain the economy. And the government will consider instituting progressive taxes and benefit systems as part of our strategy to narrow the gap.
While the list may be many and setting the right priorities may be the right job now and as we move ahead all Bhutanese should live a contented life accorded by a strong economy.