For the 30th session of Bhutan Dialogues held on second Thursday of this month, Lopen Karma Phuntsho was in a conversation with Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji – the Chairman of Zimdra Group and Vice Chairman of Singye Group on the role of private sector in Bhutan’s economic development. 

Dasho Ugen Tsechup, as usual, was very inspiring and insightful. He shared with our viewers online how significant the private sector is to our nation but also how the state must play a crucial role in the development of the private sectors. We learned that the private sector in Bhutan have admiringly grown to new heights in these past few decades, which has shaped our economy from a completely bartering trade-driven to the manufacturing industry, generating more income and employment opportunities. 

Dasho shared that given the nascent stage the private sector was in the past there was a need for the government to get involved. However, from the 6th Five-Year-Plan of the Royal Government of Bhutan, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuk, through his vision, foresaw the private sector as the true engine of growth with regard to income and employment generation. As a result of this noble direction, numerous sectors such as tourism, transport, construction and commercial activities slowly got privatised. However, Dasho shared that with the introduction of semi-political and democracy in Bhutan, state in the past few years have moved to having revenue at their own hands rather than playing the role of regulating and formulating policies. 

The conversation also touched on- 

  • the role of government-owned holding companies like the Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) and State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) in helping private sector grow. 
  • distribution of wealth of the revenue generated by the private and public sector
  • equal opportunities for private and public sector
  • whether private sector is still “fledgling” or is ready to take up big businesses 
  • the role of Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI) in boosting private sector 
  • innovation and advantage of Bhutan’s small size compared to larger countries
  • youth employment, mismatch of skills and education system
  • and more…

With a very optimistic view for the future of the private sector, Dasho Ugen shared that we must have the willingness to take and create opportunities because if we don’t then the future generations won’t too. 

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