The President-elect of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Tandin Wangchuk talks to Business Bhutan’s reporter Dechen Dolkar about his priorities for the BCCI, the challenges confronted by the organization and on interventions planned for the most affected business entities. Tandin Wangchuk is from Thimphu and he is the owner of Ms 8one8 Enterprise in Thimphu. He also served as the vice president of the BCCI earlier.
Q. What are your priorities for the BCCI as the newly elected President?
A. The top priority as the President-elect will be to resolve the issue of the BCCI’s legal status. The other priority will be to institute a One-Stop Shop within the BCCI Secretariat, which will coordinate with the relevant stakeholders at the local level. The One-Stop Shop, on behalf of the businesses, will coordinate with government offices in Thimphu to get their things done. The individual businesses from the dzongkhags will not have to travel to Thimphu.
Q. What kind of support does the private sector need during the Covid-19 pandemic?
A. With the blessings of our selfless and benevolent Druk Gyalpo, and constant support from the Royal Government of Bhutan, the private sector was able to tackle most of the problems triggered by the pandemic. The critical phase for the private sector is yet to come. The private sector needs to contribute to the economic recovery of the country. For this, there must be adequate money in the hands of the private sector to invest in new viable businesses and as well as to reboot the existing businesses affected by the pandemic. There is no money in the hands of the private sector to invest. Therefore, creating easy access to finance is crucial during the pandemic. Furthermore, there should be relaxation on policies and regulations to create an enabling environment for the private sector.
Q. The private sector has been long identified as the engine of economic growth. Why do you think that the private sector is lagging behind?
A. The contribution of the private sector towards a country’s economic development is contingent on so many factors, starting from policy environment to access to finance and infrastructure. There are many hurdles while doing business. The compliance requirement while doing business is huge. There are conflicting provisions among policies and laws that are a deterrent to private sector development. These conflicting provisions need to be reviewed and harmonized accordingly.
Q. What sorts of intervention is the BCCI planning to come for the most affected business entities because of the Covid-19?
A. Policy interventions to create an enabling environment for private sector development will be given importance. Access to finance to reboot their businesses is critical. The BCCI will talk to financial institutions to explore alternative financing mechanisms, especially for the benefit of small businesses.
Q. What kind of organizational growth will you bring in the BCCI since the Chamber has been facing legality issues?
A. Lack of legality – the past three Presidents tried their best to get the BCCI draft Bill endorsed. Unfortunately, it didn’t get through.
During my tenure, I will focus on this legal status by having larger consultations with the private sector members and take their views and recommendations to pursue further.
Q. What challenges do you find in the BCCI?
A. Fund to meet the operational expenses and carry out programs for the private sector. Legal recognition by the government is another challenge. As an economic development partner of the government, the BCCI must build confidence with the government. This will have to be done by strengthening the legal statute of the Chamber.