Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bhutan : Full steam ahead despite global meltdown

13 April, 2009 - There was a lot planned for infrastructure development in the 10th Plan and the present global financial crisis is not likely to affect its implementation, said the prime minister at a meeting with the Bhutanese media on Thursday in Thimphu. He also appealed to the private sector to play a more proactive role in the progress of the country.

The implementation of the 10th Plan has begun in earnest and the start up work for mega hydroelectric projects like Punatsangchhu was underway.

“We’re doing pretty good on the socio-economic development front despite a slow beginning,” said Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley. He said that the 10th Plan, which is almost four times the size of the 9th, would be at full steam by mid-summer. “The global meltdown shouldn’t affect us.”

The prime minister also stressed on the growth of the private sector, “especially the construction sector, which has a pervasive impact on the growth of the entire economy”. He said that the private sector could become more dynamic, innovative and play a greater role than it was doing at present, with respect to the development of the economy. “The private sector has been, over the years, the beneficiary of receiving a large infusion of highly trained, educated, skilled and experienced people from the government and they haven’t reflected and thought hard enough to think out of the box.”

“Besides supporting the private sector through government activities and the privatisation of some government businesses, the private sector will have a larger role in policy formulation on economic matters, particularly where it concerns the private sector,” said the prime minister.

A civil society commission has been established, the prime minister said.

The process of forming a non-governmental organization would be less cumbersome, he said. “Existing civil societies will be supported by the government, which would encourage and stimulate the growth of civil societies, at the national level, dzongkhag level, as well as the local level.”

By Kunzang Choki


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