Government emphasizes industrial growth

Government emphasizes industrial growth

The government is working towards increasing the contribution of the private sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 40% to 60% within the next five years. Another key goals outlined is to raise the contribution of manufacturing sector to the GDP from 6% to 30%.

Hunching on the pledges made during the election time, the Industry, Commerce and Employment minister, Namgyal Dorji expressed the government’s interest and desire to enhance the growth and competitiveness of industries in the country, during the government’s first meet-the-press on Thursday.

The minister, however, acknowledged the challenges faced by the manufacturing sector including difficulties in accessing financial services, obtaining loans, and dealing with lengthy lending processes.

To overcome these obstacles, the minister said, “The government is focusing on industrial transformation and plans to develop industrial parks in the southern regions of the country, with designated spaces in places like Samtse and Samdrup Jongkhar.”

Additionally, the minister said that the efforts are being made to expand the market for Bhutanese products beyond the country to other countries such as Australia and the USA.

The minister also shared that the government is also supporting the establishment of startup centers, promoting innovation, and encouraging Cottage and Small Industries (CSIs) to foster growth in the industrial sector.

In order to market the products, certification is important and the ministry has already worked on it to make the process easier to trade. He also mentioned the need to bring in skilled professionals from outside to meet certification requirements.

However, the minister pointed out that certification should be in line with Mutual Recognition Agreement, where sometimes there are bottlenecks for marketing. There are standards such as ‘Made in Bhutan’ and ‘Grown in Bhutan’.

While recognizing the existence of policy contradictions, minister Namgyal Dorji emphasized the importance of sorting out and reviewing policies to create a conducive business environment for the industrial sector.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the election campaign pledged to revise the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy to facilitate partnerships between private sector and FDIs, enabling joint ventures that bring in capital, expertise, and market access for Bhutanese products and services.

The party also pledged to improve access to finance for private businesses by removing unreasonable barriers that prevent private businesses to access the much-needed finances.

Another pledge committed by the party was that the government shall actively seek export markets and facilitate trade for Bhutanese products and services with exports potential.

Promoting the international export market for CSI products through various channels, such as the establishment of market outlets in major cities worldwide, starting with countries where Bhutanese embassies are located, was another pledge of the party.

By Nidup Lhamo, Thimphu