This is as per the draft 21st century economic roadmap
The draft 21st century economic roadmap identifies Cottage and Small Industries (CSIs) and the Culture and Creative Industries (CCIs) as one of the drivers of the economy in terms of revenue generation and employment creation by 2030.
The roadmap, which is expected to provide strategic direction for the country’s economy development priorities over the next 10 years, has set a tentative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) target of Nu 800bn or USD 10bn by 2030 for Bhutan.
The roadmap states that the CSIs and CCIs sectors has the potential to generate Nu 150bn annually and contribute up to 20% of the projected GDP by 2030.
Moreover, the number of active CSIs entities, which is currently at 22,000, can be realistically doubled in the next ten years to around 50,000 as more young adults join the workforce, it states.
CSIs and CCIs space is vital for a dynamic and innovative economic culture and for engaging the youth meaningfully and reaping the demographic dividend, according to the roadmap, adding that the Bhutanese youth are willing to join these sectors without any cultural stigma and inhibition.
With the institution of the department for promotion of creative industries under the information and communications ministry that would work together with the department of cottage and small industry under economic affairs ministry, the roadmap firstly calls for the potential for the CSI-CCI sectors to bring in creativity and innovation on our strong and famous cultural brand and contents.
Secondly, it recommends enhancing productivity through recent technological advancements in mechanical production as well as in fintech.
“A bold aspiration for Bhutan would be to rank in the top 10 in terms of supporting small businesses in areas such as reliable and affordable internet, electricity, low tariffs on intermediate inputs, access to finance and minimal procedures and skills,” states the roadmap.
Moreover, these have to be augmented by the development of the digital ecosystem that integrates stakeholders and activities across the value chain.
And thirdly, access to finance through venture capital and private equity funds including foreign direct investments has been recommended because the traditional banking products are not designed to cater to CSI projects with their inherent initial take off risks and the lack of collaterals, according to the roadmap.
The government has implemented a large-scale flagship project to promote CSIs in the 12th Five Year plan with a budget outlay of Nu 1.2bn.
Additionally, the economic affairs ministry launched the Creative Industries Export Strategy of Bhutan aiming to protect Bhutanese identity while promoting innovations in the sector for export on February 26 this year.
The Department of Cottage and Small Industry report finds that there are 21,813 licensed and active CSI as of June 202, constituting 95% of total industries. It is estimated the total employment in this sector at about 99,288.
Meanwhile, the government launched the draft 21st century economic roadmap on February 21, coinciding with the 41st Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The King.
The roadmap has been submitted to the Gross National Happiness Commission Secretariat for onward submission to the high-level committee or government for further deliberation, consideration and endorsement.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu