Govt. quizzed on strategies to improve Bhutan’s economy

The country’s economy has recovered significantly from the pandemic-induced disruptions and expressed hope that the recovery will be sustained.

This was what Lyonchhen responded when quizzed by MP Passang Dorji from the Bartsham-Shongphu constituency about the government’s strategies to revive and improve the country’s economy, during the question-answer session of the National assembly today.

“To improve the country’s economy, the country must decrease the import as much as possible and focus on import substitutes,” PM said, adding that trade balance is one of the essential aspects of the economy.

According to the PM, the national budget for the fiscal year 2022–2023 is one of the highest budgets till now and aims to accelerate economic growth.  The majority of the budget will be used to invest in human capital and train the youth.

“Creating import alternatives and reducing imports as much as feasible are two additional budgetary priorities,” he said.

PM added that the government is looking into the trade deficit, practically all of the products that Bhutan imports and export. “Bhutan imports more commodities than it exports to other nations,” he shared.

In addition, PM mentioned that the country has depended on hydropower as the major source of revenue. However, when production decreased in winter, the country has to import power for winter consumption from India.

“We imported around 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity last year in the winter season and this year, we might need to increase the import to 600mw,” he said.

Meanwhile, PM highlighted that other than investing in human capital, the national budget also aims for the betterment of communication channels, import reduction, information technology (ICT), and water, road, and energy flagships.

“The government has also planned around eight medium hydropower projects, out of which three have been started and four are soon to be started.”

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu