The delay of Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project I and the lowest economic growth of two percent in 2013 are the two reasons for the government not achieving 10 percent average economic growth as pledged, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said at the National Assembly on June 22.

At the question hour, Panbang MP, Dorji Wangdi, said that although the government had pledged 10 percent economic growth, only 5 percent is achieved. 

He said that the expenditure in the 10th Plan was Nu 145 billion, which had increased to Nu 213 billion. “The results are not as much as the expenditure.”

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that the first cause for not achieving the target growth is because of the previous government’s failure to start the Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project I on time. 

He said the project was to be completed by November 2015. “However, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa had shifted the properly researched and studied location of the project’s dam to another area upstream. That is why since 2013, the soil stability gave problems and because of that we didn’t finish it on time.”

Today about 85 percent of the work has completed and the project is expected to complete by 2023, the Prime Minister said. “After a proper research, if the work had completed in 2015, the growth would have climbed not only to 10 percent but 15 percent as well.” 

The Prime Minister also pointed that the lowest average economic growth rate of 2.1 percent in 2013 hindered achieving the 10 percent growth. 

While citing the issues of rupee crisis during the year, he said that the government brought an average economic growth to 7.9 percent in 2016. “Bhutan was also in the top 10 list of fastest growing economy in the world.”

In 2012, the total internal revenue generation was Nu 98 billion (B), which increased to Nu 148 B in 2016. 

For 2017, the macro-economic framework coordination committee has predicted an increase of internal revenue expenditure to Nu 170 B.

Prime Minister attributed this growth to agriculture and livestock productions. 

After completion of the 11th Plan, agriculture and livestock generated an income of Nu17 B yearly.

The cottage and small industries had issued 13,000 licenses in the 10th Plan, which he said has increased to 19,000 today. Trade licenses issued in the 10th Plan was 19,400, which, he said is 40,000 today.  

The medium and large industries also increased from 381 to 750 today. “If all of this is looked at, the economy is growing,” Prime Minister said. 

He said that today the country has USD 1.2B as foreign currency reserve and INR 18.6B of rupee reserve. 

“The loans for the growth of the economy has also increased from Nu 57B in 2012 to Nu 105B.”

Phurpa Lhamo