PM says time needed to fulfill pledges

PM says time needed to fulfill pledges

Important to revive economy first

Embracing the spirit of “A Contract with Bhutan,’ for a “Better Druk-Yuel,” the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) committed to revitalizing our economy and propelling its growth towards a more prosperous and developed Bhutan. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay affirmed that his government will fulfill all pledges “but give time.”
Given the responses during the ongoing Parliament Session, where it seems the government may not fulfill all pledges as initially promised, media houses questioned whether the government would indeed honor all commitments.
In the ongoing Parliament discussions, it is evident that the government has repeatedly stated that due to the current state of the economy, immediate fulfillment of most pledges—such as rural life insurance and road construction—is not feasible. Restoring economic stability will take time, not just a year or two. Does this imply that the government will be inactive for an extended period? What message will elected parliamentarians convey to their constituents?
Addressing these concerns, the Prime Minister reiterated that the PDP government is committed to fulfilling all pledges, albeit not immediately. He emphasized the importance of first reviving the economy. Policies are currently under review, with plans to honor commitments such as expanding rural life insurance coverage and constructing roads accordingly.
Looking ahead, the Prime Minister stated that over the next five years, the government will not only fulfill its pledges but also exceed them through proactive initiatives.
One of the key campaign promises shared by the PDP and Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) was to increase rural life insurance coverage from Nu 30,000 to Nu 150,000. Although this pledge has yet to be implemented, Finance Minister Lyonpo Lekey Dorji assured during the 1st Session of the Third Parliament that the 13th Five-Year Plan, under review, aims for implementation starting July 2024. Thus, the commitment to enhance rural life insurance remains ongoing.
The PDP manifesto, titled “13th Plan Plus 13 Pledges,” underscores the government’s primary responsibility to execute the 13th plan alongside party pledges. Built on key economic objectives and strategic initiatives, the manifesto aims for an ambitious GDP target of USD 5 billion within the next five years, driven by significant investments in hydropower development. This multifaceted approach prioritizes sustainable growth, job creation, and enhanced economic opportunities for all Bhutanese citizens.
The economic development agenda also includes boosting private sector investment from 40% to 60% and increasing the manufacturing sector’s GDP contribution from 6% to 30%. Furthermore, plans entail increasing tourist arrivals and establishing a high-powered Economic Development Board (EDB) to expedite business establishment and foreign direct investments. Upon assuming government leadership, the party plans to promptly mobilize Nu 15 billion from a stimulus fund to achieve these macroeconomic goals, in addition to hydropower-related commitments.
On January 28, His Majesty The King conferred Dakyen upon the new Prime Minister, the Speaker of the National Assembly, and Cabinet Ministers during a ceremony held at the Golden Throne Room of the Tashichhodzong. The Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers assumed office on January 29, 2024. On their first day, the Prime Minister convened a meeting with Cabinet Ministers and issued four Executive Orders and ten directives to expedite implementation.
It has been five months since the PDP took office as the fourth democratically elected government.

By Sangay Rabten, Thimphu