With much foreign IT and IT enabled services enquiring about the Thimphu TechPark Limited (TTL) in Serbithang, Thimphu officials said there is a need to expand the park.

The park has rented out all its spaces and has six foreign companies operating at the park. Two foreign companies are still being registered. When approved, the 60,000-sqft space would be fully occupied.

The park’s chief executive officer (CEO), Tshering Cigay Dorji, said this would mean the park would need extra infrastructure to accommodate more companies interested in operating in Bhutan and also to develop ICT in Bhutan.

“The current IT Park has shown that it can create much-needed employment opportunities and help earn foreign exchange,” Tshering Cigay Dorji said. “Since we keep receiving proposals from many companies, we cannot reject because of space although we need to study the proposals well.”

Tshering Cigay Dorji said that to embrace the opportunities that technologies offer like employment and the need to move with time, there is a need for expansion. About 13 acres of land was kept for the second phase of the park.

“It is becoming crucial and we’re hoping there will be additional structures as soon as possible,” he said. “But we have to be mindful that the success of a second IT Park would come only through hard work, commitment and consistent promotion of Bhutan as an investment destination.”

The first phase of the park has employed more than 700 Bhutanese youth since 2016. The second phase of the park should have already begun.

Information and communications minister, DN Dhungyel, said that since it would involve a lot of expenditure, the government might have to implement the second phase only in the 12th Plan.

The minister said that when the park was first established, it was not utilised, was viewed as a white elephant and so there was no plan for expansion.

“But now the company has picked up and has generated employment opportunities. We are thinking to go for the second phase because we see the viability of a TechPark,” he said. “We’re already in discussion and consultation with big companies because we need to make sure companies are interested in investing.”

The minister added that expansion is, however, not urgent now. “We’ll have to look into the clients and investors and then be able to prioritise for the 12th plan.”

It was not because of the lack of budget, the minister said, but because nothing was planned for the second phase.

Yangchen C Rinzin