An Autopsy of the Economic pledges

Towards a common economic goal

Although the five political parties have different modus operandi, their goal towards achieving economic recovery and doubling the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country is common and will be navigated by the government’s “Long Term Perspective Plan (2024-2034)” draft.

The draft, besides underlying the government’s plans to double the GDP from USD 2.5B to USD 5B by 2029, and USD 10B by 2034, also envisions realizing the Royal Vision of ‘Developed Bhutan’ by beefing up socio-economic development efforts from the 13th Five-Year Plan over the next ten years.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT)

The DPT pledges to achieve economic self-reliance by 2034, maintaining an average of 8% economic growth rate in five years.

Their pledge includes maintaining foreign currency reserve and framing a new Economic Development Policy within six months.  Promoting private sector as the key driver of the economy and increasing its contribution to GDP to at least 50 percent us another pledge.

“Our focus shall be on achieving sustainable, inclusive, equitable, and diversified economy for the people of Bhutan. A careful analysis of our economic fundamentals and constraints informs us that the best alternative for Bhutan is to become a productive service economy, driven and supported by information and technology, and educated human resource,” DPT stated.

“Leveraging our experience as the governing party from 2008 to 2013, a period marked by a strong emphasis on economic progress, we are poised to restore Bhutan’s economic course and guide it toward self-sufficiency, ensuring prosperity for all,” DPT stated.

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP)

Similarly, BTP also pledges to constitute an economic advisory council to advise the government on various aspects of the economy to achieve a high income nation status by doubling GDP value to Nu 500B and Nu 1T by 2029 and 2034 respectively, and per capita income of USD 7500 and USD 15000 by 2029 and 2034 respectively.

BTP also states that the party will enhance domestic production by providing targeted support to the cottage and small industries and export-led industries including construction materials, mineral products, fast moving consumable goods, agriculture and livestock products and adopt “Bhutan First Policy.”

The party will promote economic growth based on economic potential of chiwog, gewog and dzongkhag to enhance household income.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

The economic goals of PDP includes increasing the GDP from USD 2.5B to an ambitious USD 5B including the investments in hydropower in the next five years. In addition, PDP also pledges to increase GDP per capita from USD 3,400 to USD 12,000 in the next 10 years, creating full employment (97.5%) in the next five years, with annualized creation of 10,000 jobs, including 2,000 jobs in the digital sector.  Boosting private sector investment from 40% to a robust 60% in the next five years is also included in PDP’s pledge, followed by increasing the contribution of manufacturing sector to GDP from 6% to a substantial 30% in the next five years.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT)

DNT pledges to draft the Private Sector Bill to strengthen the functions of Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), liberalization of business license, interest and collateral free loans for farmers and startups upto Nu 500,000.

In addition, DNT also pledges to allow export of timber and wood products by private individuals and increase life insurance payments on a cost sharing basis and doing away with the tax on dividends.

DNT envisions a developed Bhutan by 2030, with an economy of USD 5B by 2029 and USD 10B by 2034. Under the economic growth cluster, DNT aspires to create Bhutan into a high-income country driven by innovation and sustainability. “To achieve this goal, we will need to accelerate and drive economic growth. To stir growth, our plan is to enhance productivity, diversify production, and re-strengthen markets,” the party’s manifesto states.

Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT)

Within its broad principle of Sunomics, DTT pledges to launch an Economic Stimulus Plan (ESP) of Nu 10B where most of the costs will be met from the overall budget and the urgent works will be executed within the first 108 days.  DTT states that the party will jumpstart or continue ongoing infrastructure projects, engaging as many participants and stakeholders as possible and facilitate education loans for work and earn abroad.

Other pledges by the DTT includes engaging youth in private sector homes, Thuendrel Red Carpet Scheme for investments from overseas Bhutanese, boost tourism and hotel industry in the first 108 days and restructure the NPLs of hotels and tourism assets.

The ESP of the DTT also includes minimizing and reducing regulations in the first 100 days to eliminate efficiencies and redundancies and increase absolute GDP contribution from Nu 19.75B to Nu 30B for agriculture, and from Nu 10.72B to 15B for livestock.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu