Govt. expects economy to improve after second nationwide vaccination program

The country’s economic growth is estimated to shrink by 3.4% in FY 2020-21

Following the completion of the second nationwide vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in the country, the government is hoping that the country’s economic growth will see an upward trend.

The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection for 2020 has been revised further down to negative 6.8% following the second nationwide lockdown.

 Bhutan’s economic growth (GDP) is expected to recover moderately to 3.7% in the fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 with policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the vaccination drive, according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021. 

Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma said that the government is happy to have undertaken a successful mass vaccination for all eligible people and that they are looking forward to focusing on economy and businesses now.

The minister said the economic growth rate is expected to improve and in the fiscal year 2021-2022 they are targeting a positive growth of 3 plus. 

However, Lyonpo said that the pandemic containment is still a challenge and its behavior is unpredictable. 

When asked about how the economic growth will be improved, Lyonpo mentioned that immediately they are working on how to revive the economy through a focused approach concentrating to regain, revive and rebuild by another two years from now.

However, Lyonpo mentioned that the economic revival plan cannot be the work of a single ministry and requires a “whole government” approach, where the ministry of finance and ministry of economic affairs will lead the path and plan. 

“In brief, regulatory reforms must accompany economic support measures. We are looking at picking the early harvest for economic revival and these will be the plans and programs that can be implemented immediately as well as building on our existing businesses,” Lyonpo said.

‘Out of plan thoughts and quick wins are some of the measures besides opening up businesses and economic opportunities,” he added.

Lyonpo said that the government will take the lead role to revive the economy through cross cutting reforms and support measures as outlined in his preceding responses.

According to the minister, one important aspect would be to concentrate on doable activities like construction, up and fully run existing industries, open up trading business by letting small shops and COVID-19 protocols relax even for the entertainment sector.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the country’s economic growth is estimated to shrink by 3.4% in FY 2020-21. The GDP growth is estimated to be 0.9% in FY 2019-20.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu