It will keep working hard to improve the ranking, says PM

Business: The big jump in the ease of doing business ranking was a result of government’s hard work, according to Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

This year, Bhutan leapfrogged to 71th position from 125 last year among 189 economies around the world.

“This has been possible only because we have worked very hard,” lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said interacting with journalists at the monthly meet-the-press yesterday. Bhutan jumped by 54 places, which the prime minister said was the biggest by any country this year.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said the government had taken the task of improving the ranking as matter of priority and that every minister was given the charge to take care of one area (of doing business).

The prime minister said a task force was formed among civil servants, who he said worked very closely with the World Bank to improve the environment of doing business in Bhutan.

The rise in ranking, he said, bodes very well for Bhutan as it helps the country attract foreign investments. “The ranking means that the potential foreign investors will see Bhutan more favourably and would want to do business in Bhutan,” he said.

But more important than foreign investors, he said it’s Bhutanese who do business in Bhutan. “The Bhutanese investors will understand that business environment in Bhutan is fairly good,” he said. “In fact it’s the best in South Asia.”

That said, the Prime Minister said the government is going to keep working towards improving the standings. “We are going to remove as many bottlenecks as possible,” he said.

He said that since the measurement was carried out by a third party the assessment would be lot more credible.

The prime minister said that the government’s achievement in the ranking tells that other public services can also be improved. “If we can improve our rankings in doing business really almost in a year, we have no excuse not to improve the equality of all public services including health care, education, roads and city services,” he said.

“If it can be done in the area as complicated as doing business, we would be able to do everywhere else,” he said.

“And we have to aspire to improve service delivery in all our sectors so that we can develop as a country much faster and as a people we are satisfied with the service delivery of the government,” lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said.

The Doing Business 2016 report observes that Bhutan instituted two significant reforms during the past year. In getting electricity, Bhutan made it easier for entrepreneurs to connect to the grid by speeding up the process for obtaining a new connection.

Bhutan also implemented a reform in the registering property indicator through which transferring property has been streamlined by introducing a computerized land information system. This initiative has decreased the time to complete a transfer by 15 days.

According to the World Bank, the economies that rank high on Doing Business indicators tend to perform well in other international data sets, such as the Global Competitiveness Index and Transparency International’s Corruption Index.

MB Subba