A total of 11 objectives, 34 actions along with 49 success indicators were reflected by the economic affairs ministry during the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) signing yesterday.

Some of economic affairs ministry’s focus in the next one year would be development of industrial parks, cottage and small industries, enhancing enabling environment, export promotion, construction of the on-going hydro-electric projects, diversifying energy mix and mineral exploration.

Economic affairs minister Lekey Dorji said that the system of APAs represent an important accountability mechanism for inculcating a performance-based culture at all levels of the government. “This is more important at this critical juncture of Bhutan’s development journey when several development partners have withdrawn or are withdrawing and resources that are available need to be utilised in the most judicious manner.”

Some of the projects the ministry has initiated in order to enhance economic expansion and diversification are development of four industrial parks, increasing investments by approving large and medium domestic industries, enhancing Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) retail outlets and contribution of the revenue generated to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The ministry will launch an online complaint system and reduce discrepancies in POL stations to ensure the protection of consumer rights and interest to enhance public service delivery and enabling environment. The sector will also submit the Draft National Intellectual Property Policy and amend Mines and Minerals Management Regulation 2002 and Electricity Act 2001.

Economic affairs secretary, Dasho Yeshey Wangdi, said that the ministry achieved 91.2 percent of commitments between 2015 and 2016.

The sector aims to accelerate hydropower development by reviewing Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy 2008 and by conducting investigation studies of new hydropower projects.

In order to diversify and promote alternative renewable energy and to enhance energy security, the ministry would have to work to upscale biogas plants, carry out electrification of off-grid households and electrify 189 households in Soe and Lingzhi gewogs.

The economic affairs minister said that some of these activities would carry forward in 12th FYP. “These activities are critical for the country’s economic development and realisation of the overall goal of economic self-reliance,” he said.

Rinchen Zangmo