Bhutan slips one position on global competitiveness in 2015 

WEF Report: Bhutan ranks 103rd among 147 economies in the global competitiveness report, 2015, which measures how friendly a country is for doing business, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The country, weighed down by challenging economic conditions for the past few years, slipped one position this year.  This is the third time Bhutan has been included in the annual report published by the WEF based in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 2013, when Bhutan was first included in the global competitiveness report, it ranked 109th.  Among the south Asian economies, Bhutan has been placed above Bangladesh and Pakistan, but below Nepal and India.

The report is based on a survey conducted on chief executives and business leaders in Bhutan using the statistical analysis designed in Switzerland.  The global competitiveness index serves as an international benchmark for the vitality and competitiveness of the economy.

“Key to sustained economic growth is improving competitiveness,” economic affairs minister Norbu Wangchuk said, posting on Facebook  “The Better Business Council will provide the impetus and policy recommendations to improve our country’s global competitiveness.”

The first meeting of the Better Business Council was held on April 22, after the council was instituted last year.

The annual report assesses factors driving the countries’ productivity and prosperity and identifies uneven implementation of structural reforms across different regions and levels of development as the biggest challenge to sustaining global growth.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk told Kuensel the meeting, being the first since the council was instituted, discussed issues related to institutional set up. “There’s a lot of mistrust between the private sector and the government,” he said, adding that the two sectors can work together only if there is mutual trust.

He said the Better Business Council would help bridge the trust deficit between the two. “We were able to recognise the challenges between the two sectors in the meeting,” he said.

According to the report, Bhutan scores 4.33 out of 7 on infrastructural requirements, which means that the country does fulfil a lot of requirement for doing business.  However, the country scores only 3.22 on innovation factor, meaning there is not much favourable environment for innovative business in Bhutan.

The country also scores low on macroeconomic environment, 3.9 out of 7, indicating that the country’s overall economic policy is just a little above average.

Switzerland tops the overall GCI rankings, followed by Singapore, the United States, Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

By MB Subba