PM requests stakeholders of Thai Tourism Industry to promote Bhutan

13th FYP, a bridge towards an Emboldened Economy

The relation between the 13th FYP and Bhutan’s economy

While underlining that economic revival and growth is central to Bhutan’s development, Prime Minister (PM) Dasho Tshering Tobgay provided a brief account of how the 13th Five Year Plan would directly strengthen the economy.

In the State of the Nation Address, the PM said that first and foremost, an impressive Nu. 68 billion has been allocated towards infrastructure development, a crucial sector for our nation’s progress. This substantial investment encompasses a wide range of projects designed to modernize and expand our physical infrastructure. Key initiatives include the widening of national highways, which will enhance connectivity and facilitate smoother transportation of goods and people across the country. The PM also added that the government is focusing on building new roads and constructing bridges, essential for linking remote areas with urban centers and improving access to markets, healthcare, and education.

In addition, he said that the government is committed to blacktopping gewog center roads, which will ensure that rural communities are better connected and can benefit from improved transportation networks. The construction of new schools and hospitals is another priority, as these facilities are vital for providing quality education and healthcare services to our citizens. Furthermore, the development of irrigation canals will support our agricultural sector by ensuring that farmers have reliable access to water, thereby boosting crop yields and food security.

“Second, we have allocated Nu. 10 billion for ICT development, to not only stimulate growth in the ICT industry but also to enhance the technological infrastructure, thereby strengthening our economy,” the PM said, adding that the aim is to promote innovation and improve the delivery of public services. Enhanced ICT infrastructure will enable us to better integrate digital technologies into various sectors, thereby driving efficiency and fostering a more connected society.

The PM then spoke about the Nu. 72 billion set aside for local government initiatives. According to the PM, this significant allocation will support a variety of projects aimed at improving the quality of life for residents in rural areas. For instance, the construction of chiwog roads will enhance accessibility and mobility, while the installation of chain-link fencing will help protect agricultural lands from wildlife and livestock encroachments. Additionally, the maintenance of irrigation canals will ensure that farmers have a steady supply of water, which is essential for agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Moving forward, the PM said that recognizing the critical importance of human resources in driving economic growth, Nu. 60 billion has been allocated for human resource development. This investment will be used to expand and enhance health, educational, vocational, and technical training institutes across the country. By improving these institutions, the government aims to equip the workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing global economy. Enhanced human resource development will lead to higher productivity, innovation, and overall economic prosperity.

With hydropower remaining a cornerstone of Bhutan’s economic strategy, the government has planned to increase the installed capacity of hydropower generation by 3,119 MW over the next five years. This expansion will bring our total installed capacity to approximately 5,500 MW, significantly boosting our energy production and export potential. To support this ambitious initiative, we have allocated a budget of Nu. 527 billion, which is outside the scope of the 13th Five Year Plan. This investment will ensure that we can meet our energy needs sustainably while also generating revenue from energy exports.

In addition to focusing on hydropower, the government has implemented strategies to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) to Nu. 500 billion. The PM said attracting FDI is crucial for diversifying our economy, creating jobs, and fostering innovation, while also acknowledging the vital role tourism plays in generating income for local communities.

The PM extended his heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated civil servants who have undertaken extensive research to draft a comprehensive 13th Five Year Plan. He said that their hard work and commitment have been instrumental in shaping a strategic plan that addresses our nation’s most pressing challenges. As we move forward with the implementation of this plan, he reiterated that he will be counting on the continued support and cooperation of our civil servants to fulfill the plan’s objectives and drive our nation towards a prosperous future.

“As I previously mentioned, our economy is small and has faced challenges in achieving the anticipated growth rates. It is our duty to accelerate economic development, guided by the GNH principles of sustainability and equality. This responsibility is critical, and we must approach it with utmost seriousness,” he said.

The PM reminded that during the 112th National Day, His Majesty The King commanded us to chart a clear roadmap for a 21st-century economy to accelerate economic development. He said that in response to this command, the previous government developed an economic roadmap for the country and that the government is now taking steps to comprehensively improve this roadmap by engaging both national and international experts.

“In summary, our country is at a crossroads, facing unprecedented times. The Gelephu Mindfulness City is our key strategy in addressing and overcoming pressing challenges. Furthermore, the Economic Stimulus Programme and the 13th Five Year Plan are poised to significantly boost our economic development. Additionally, hydropower projects, tourism initiatives, and foreign direct investments will further stimulate economic growth,” the PM concluded.

By Ugyen Tenzin, Thimphu