Cottage and small industries have been growing steadily over the years. After Royal Monetary Authority’s (RMA) priority sector lending (PSL) policy it received priority, resulting in the CSI growth of more than 20 per cent. There are more than 20,000 licensed and operational CSIs in the country today.
The good news is that the focus of the second Bhutan Economic Forum of Innovative Transformation (BEFIT) that ends today is further development of CSI in the country. For a robust economic growth, this is critically important for Bhutan.
According to some observations, the median age of Bhutanese is 27 and demography is heavily weighted towards generation of millennials who look at corporate purpose to improve, educate, inform and promote well-being of society, generate jobs and to protect the environment besides making profits. However, the fact remains that businesses are today confronted with challenges that must be solved to pave way for the healthy growth of economic opportunities.
Bhutan has arrived at a time when economic diversification will define its success as a nation. CSI development can and must, therefore, play a critical role in solving some of the biggest problems facing the country today – rising youth unemployment and dwindling agriculture sector. In this regard, giving grounds for enabling regulatory environment crucial to nurture entrepreneurial culture is vitally important without which there would scarcely be any drive for innovation and technology. Access to finance and market must follow.
While the numbers look good, we have not been able to harness the benefits of CSIs. Perhaps it is time we brushed aside rules and regulations (there are too many of them!) that in fact impede growth and really worked at developing CSIs in the country. As part of human capital development and enhancement of entrepreneurship culture, entrepreneurs are provided with essential skill development training business advocacy workshops regularly. However, there the things seem to end.
When we talk about CSIs, looking beyond is perhaps much more important than looking inside. Limited market can be the biggest challenge to young entrepreneurs. Economic diversification, otherwise called the development of CSI, cannot tarry or fail because it is the only real antidote to the challenges emanating from changing times.