Thinley Namgay   

In the next five years, the private sector investment would rise to 60 percent from the existing 40 percent, and would contribute to 30 of the GDP from the mere 6 percent currently, according to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment (MoICE).

To achieve this growth, the MoICE had, first of all, acknowledged the fact that the private sector was grappling with a host of issues, and had resorted to developing an Industrial Transformation Map (ITM).

According to the Minister of MoICE, Namgay Dorji, the map was necessary for the development of industries as private sector currently faced several challenges such as in obtaining loans, business licenses, and acquiring government land on lease. 

To breathe life into the struggling private sector of the country, the MoICE was investing in extending the market internationally, improving the quality of products and certification, create a friendly environment to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), encourage startups, and develop the capacity, among other initiatives. 

There was also the need to strengthen the country’s payment gateways and point-of-sale systems to benefit both citizens and tourists as currently, one of the bottlenecks for receiving more international visitors was the lack of payment gateways, and visitors were unable to transfer money. Bhutanese shops and restaurants did not accept credit cards.  

So far a viable solution had eluded the government on the lingering issues related to exporting boulders which had a huge demand in Bandladesh. 

The long distance, bad road conditions, and passing through India – were some of the challenges the boulder exporters faced. 

The majority of Bhutanese exporters used routes through India from Samdrupjongkhar, Gelephu, Lhamoidzingkha, and Phuentsholing to export  boulders to Bangladesh. Finding the shortest route to Bangladesh was one of the demands of those engaged in the boulder business. 

Currently, the shortest route for boulder exports to Bangladesh was via Changrabanda in India, located 100 km from Phuentsholing and 74 km from Samtse. The other route was through Fulbari, situated 112km from Samtse and 115km from Gomtu. 

Lyonpo Namgay Dorji remained confident in the excellent relationship between Bhutan and India, in addressing issues related to the export of boulders.