Although the government is taking credit for a decrease in non-hydro debt, the Opposition has cited lack of initiatives from the government to start even a single major infrastructure project as the reason behind the decrease.

During the last four and a half years, non-hydro debt decreased by Nu 6 billion (B), from 40B to 34B.

During the Question Hour in the National Assembly on November 17, opposition MP Dorji Wangdi asked the prime minister to clarify the increase in the national debt despite not having initiated a single major national project.

Dorji Wangdi said that it was only natural that the non-hydro debt decreased since important infrastructures such as roads, electricity, and telecommunication facilities were built by the former government.

“The decrease of Nu 6B in non-hydro debt is nothing to be proud of. There was no need of availing non-hydro loans,” Dorji Wangdi said.

Hydro and non-hydro debts combined today stands at Nu 184B. This is an increase of Nu 83B, from Nu 101B during the last four and a half years.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that the decrease in Nu 6B was significant given the small size of the economy. “This is something to be proud off for all Bhutanese. The decrease is almost Nu 1 million per head for a population of 680,000.” He added that the future generations would be affected if the government borrows excess loans.

“The opposition says that loans increased in the previous government’s term because a lot of developmental works such as rural electrification projects were implemented. But we can finance it from our own resources,” the prime minister said.

He said that the Nu 7B east-west highway widening project was being implemented without borrowings from external sources. The government, he added, has also financed the blacktopping of gewog centre roads without borrowing.

He said that the government adopted the Public Debt Policy in 2016 to control national debt and that the policy would ensure Government does not borrow in excess and repay on time.

MB Subba