Government secures Nu 135 billion for 13th FYP

In a landmark visit to Haa Dzongkhag from14th to 15th April, the Prime Minister (PM), Dasho Tshering Tobgay spearheaded discussions aimed at bolstering economic progress and development initiatives across the region. Interacting with a diverse array of stakeholders, including dzongkhag officials, leaders of Local Government(LG), business communities, civil servants, and the public, the Prime Minister unveiled ambitious plans and lauded the transformative strides already achieved.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister underscored the government’s commitment to accelerating the nation’s growth trajectory, revealing that within a mere two and a half months of assuming office, a substantial fund of Nu135 billion had been secured.

Additionally, a dedicated fund of Nu15 billion was earmarked for the implementation of the Economic Stimulus Plan (ESP), slated to kick-start in the ensuing two months. This plan is poised to inject vitality into the economy by facilitating accessible finance options, including low-interest or interest-free loans across diverse sectors.

Emphasizing the imperative of judicious fund utilization and timely loan repayment to sustain support for those in need, the Prime Minister rallied for collective efforts towards economic resurgence.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister set forth a bold directive for the Dzongkhag Administration to double tourist arrivals from 939 in 2023 to 1800 in 2024. To actualize this vision, the Dzongkhag was urged to harness the potential of its natural wonders, including rhododendron and orchids tourism, Rangtse Ney, and Sangbaykha, the birthplace of the indigenous Nub-Lang cattle breed.

Echoing sentiments of profound gratitude, public representatives recounted the remarkable transformation witnessed in formerly remote regions such as Sangbaykha and Gakidling. Once isolated and inaccessible, these areas have undergone a remarkable metamorphosis, with motorable roads now crisscrossing the landscape, thanks to the unwavering support of His Majesty the King and the Royal Government.

The Prime Minister lauded the indefatigable spirit of civil servants, particularly those serving in the remote gewogs of Sangbaykha and Gakidling, acknowledging their selfless dedication amidst challenging conditions. Special appreciation was extended to the officials of the Department of Surface Transport at Khamina for their pivotal role in advancing infrastructure development.

As the echoes of the Prime Minister’s visit resonate across Haa Dzongkhag, a renewed sense of optimism pervades, buoyed by the collective resolve to propel Bhutan towards greater prosperity and inclusivity.

Ministries presented their plans for finalizing the 13th Five-Year Plan in February 2024, highlighting priority areas and estimated budgets. The plan aims to transform Bhutan into a high-income economy by 2034. The presentations sought directives from the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers to finalize the plan, with further meetings and discussions required.

The plan includes goals to increase GDP and per capita income, with a total budget outlay of over Nu 500bn. Prime Minister emphasized the importance of strong education, healthcare, and infrastructure for development.

The draft Planning Guidelines set forth 10 National Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the Long-Term Perspective Plan and 13th Five-Year Plan for Bhutan’s Economic Cluster. These KPIs, aligned with the principles of Prosperity, People, and Progress, aim to steer socio-economic development efforts in line with the vision of achieving a Developed Bhutan. Objectives include elevating GDP and GDP per capita, ensuring full employment, enhancing life expectancy, and improving public service satisfaction by 2030.

The plan spans 2024-2034, with the 13th Plan scheduled from February 2024 to February 2029. Resources will be allocated to national programs and local government initiatives to meet public service needs. Adherence to KPI terms and conditions is crucial for success, with strategies, programs, and monitoring frameworks outlined.

The economic cluster aims to establish a USD 10bn economy with high-end jobs and GDP per capita of USD 12,000 by 2034, with specific KPIs focusing on digital economy development, trade balance enhancement, and increased Foreign Direct Investment. Guidelines were released in November 2022, encompassing criteria for income growth and assessing overall cluster performance.

By Sangay Rabten, Thimphu