Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was not a good way to measure the progress of the country and was a wrong tool to measure progress when it came to the target of narrowing the gap.
This was in response to criticism from the opposition that the government had not set ambitious GDP target.
In the first session of the third Parliament recently, an opposition MP cautioned the government that GDP growth 5-6percent in five years for a developing nations was not enough capital investment and with a plan size of Nu 310 billion.
Lyonchhen said that the government was not at all concerned about GDP. “Most of our pledges are for longer term, for social activities,” he said. “Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa is a centre-left party. We will not measure country’s progress only by GDP.”
He added that the government would be going the capitalist way if it aimed for more than 8 percent growth rate target. “That would actually widen the gap and cause more disharmony in the society.”
DNT’s pledges like breast-feeding allowances, graduating from primary health services to secondary and tertiary levels, and to place surgeon in every 20 dzongkhags, he said, would not have any impact on GDP growth rate.
“99 percent of our pledges are for the lower and middle income groups which means there won’t be substantial improvement on GDP,” Lyonchhen said. “As long as we keep the growth rate between 5 and 6 percent, we would be doing excellently well.”
Economic affairs minster Loknath Sharma said that 5 to 6 percent GDP growth rate was achievable. “If we achieve a persistent growth rate of 5 percent, that’s not bad.” He added that 6 percent growth rate was good for a sustainable economy and the government could achieve more.
“We have given the highest priority to well-being and social investments. GDP Growth rate will not matter like in the capitalist economy,” said lyonpo.
The country’s economy recorded a growth of 4.63 percent in 2017, a decrease by 3.39 percent compared with that of 2016. However, in absolute terms, the size of economy increased from Nu 149.15B in 2016 to Nu 164.62B in 2017.
In 2016, the country achieved 8 percent GDP growth and made it to the top three fastest growing economies in the world.