Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has said that the Opposition’s criticism of its economic policy was an attempt to divert the people’s attention from corruption issues surrounding former works and human settlement minister Yeshey Zimba.

The prime minister said this at a press conference on February 12 in response to the Opposition’s allegations of mismanagement of the economy.

In a separate press conference on February 7, opposition members had said that the government was doing nothing but inaugurating minor works like gewog roads and farm shops.

The Opposition had called the press conference after the government in January asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate a possible case of corruption involving the former minister. It stated the allegations against the former minister were aimed at diverting the people’s attention from the government’s poor performance.

The prime minister cited the widening works on the East-West Highway as one of the major projects the government implemented during its tenure. He said the project is implemented at a cost of Nu 8 billion.

He said that gewog roads should not be considered as minor projects as each gewog road would cost between Nu 30 million to Nu 50 million (M).

“We are distributing 1,200 odd power tillers. It’s huge. We are inaugurating 60 central schools (in the 11th Plan),” he said.

The prime minister said that the Opposition had raised the issue to divert the people’s attention from corruption allegations against the former minister. “This, the economic issue has nothing do with the corruption case.” He said.

The economy, the prime minister said was doing well and that according to the International Monetary Fund, the Bhutanese economy was expected to grow at 11.2 percent in 2018.

The prime minister said that the allegations about lack of major development initiatives were raised by the Opposition to divert the people’s attention from issues at hand. The issue, he said, was the need to fight corruption in the country.

The establishment of Business Opportunity and Information Centre (BOiC) and Rural Enterprise Development Corporation (REDCL) have created hundreds of employment opportunities across the country.

“Each project has created businesses and jobs. I don’t want to go into the details because the subject matter here is the fiscal incentives,” he said.

“The Opposition had failed in its duty,” he said, adding that the government was happy about its performance.

MB Subba