Following the Figures

The importance of data or figures needs no elaboration. It enables governments and organizations to track and review the health of various business processes and other essential systems. It is a platform for effectively determining the cause of problems and finding solutions.

If we look at the data currently at our disposal, there is absolutely nothing to entice our sense of satisfaction. Rather, we are in a building whose foundations are weakening. It could collapse!

For the second time in just a year, we had to issue two moratoriums, with the latest one banning financial institutions from providing credit for commercial housing and hotel construction.

Although the foreign reserve for March 2023 has reached USD 698 million, it is 26.4% less than the amount in March last year. Revenue from hydro-power has declined, inflation and unemployment have surged, and the trade deficit has widened. Where are we headed?

This does not mean that those responsible are simply warming their chairs. Actions to turn the tables are being taken, such as increasing incentives for inward remittances. Moratoriums are also measures. Some sections of the general public are even calling for more moratoriums so that we do not become a society accumulating junk. However, the complication here lies in drawing a very clear line between essentials and non-essentials.

But what the country requires are not just measures but policies. The former is temporary. Do we even have an economic policy based on figures?

Fingers are being pointed at the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. At home, it is the new Tourism Policy. It is true. Like most countries, we have been affected by the pandemic, and the war continues to have an impact. Tourism has been hit.

In the face of all the above concerns, our civil servants, through a Royal Command, received a salary raise that many described as “beyond expectations.” This would not have been possible without Druk Holdings and Investments’ (DHI) Special Project, which the world calls crypto mining, digital asset mining, etc. “What is in a name?” But the project has been rightfully called “Special” because of all the special things it did and can do.

The amount of “kidu” in cash and kind disbursed during the pandemic is still fresh in our minds. The latest treats are the ones that friends in the civil service have assured, once they get their revised salary. What could be more special?

It is heartening to see an increasing number of Bhutanese saying that we must now continue with the journey. Perhaps it is a reality check! Many have now read about Bitcoin and understood why we need to harness it. The future is uncertain. There are risks. But what do we do, especially now?

This will not address all the issues mentioned above. Nonetheless, in the face of changing global dynamics, it provides us with a sense of security and, most importantly, economic security.

We have ambitious economic goals. Our national wealth should be managed and enhanced through prudent investments. We need a strong, dynamic economy as the foundation for a vibrant democracy. Digital Asset Mining may not be the only way to achieve these goals, but at this juncture, it is the jugular vein of our economy, the cardiac muscle for a prosperous Bhutan, and Chromosome 1 for the Bhutan of our dreams.

I am not saying this; it is the numbers or the figures conveying this message. It is data.