Private sector representatives gathered at the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on 6 February to review the nation’s business regulatory framework, following the government’s executive order to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Employment (MoICE), to submit refined recommendations by March 1, 2024.
The project Manager for the V4GCP Project, Khampa said the proactive stance of the new government, as demonstrated through its executive order on the first day in office, underscores a commitment to addressing private sector concerns and fostering economic development.
Stakeholders focused on prevailing economic policies, highlighting concerns about inconsistencies impacting business sectors, including the Economic Development Policy (EDP), Financial Incentives (FI) Act, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy, and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Policy.
Emphasizing collaboration, sector associations outlined three crucial domains for feedback including general economic development policies, business regulatory procedures, and policymaking processes.
The private sector identified key areas in licensing, manpower regulations, access to finance, market accessibility, tax regulations, and service delivery. Stakeholders stressed participatory approaches in policymaking, aiming for over 100 policies to undergo a comprehensive review and streamlining by respective sector associations.
BCCI President, Tandi Wangchuk, commended the government’s proactive stance, anticipating a transformative shift in regulatory mechanisms for economic advancement.
“Advocating for the interests of cottage and small industries (CSIs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the Voice for Green Change Partnership (V4GCP) project is in close alignment with the government’s initiative for regulatory review,” said Chorten Dorji, Executive Director of the Handicrafts Association of Bhutan (HAB) and leader of the V4GCP Project.
Khampa affirmed his commitment to delivering actionable recommendations, emphasizing diverse stakeholder engagement for effective consultation and tangible outcomes.
“Implementation of recommendations submitted by the private sector promises to improve Bhutan’s ranking on the global ‘ease of doing business’ index,” said Khampa.
“Furthermore, advancements in the private sector will align with His Majesty’s vision for the Gelephu Mindfulness City project, defining investment climates and business opportunities for both domestic and foreign investors.”
Khampa said all business regulatory processes pertinent to sector associations under the BCCI are under consideration for review.
He said that submitting barriers to policy and business regulatory processes from the private sector aligns with one of the objectives of the V4GCP Project, funded by the European Union led by the HAB, and hosted by the BCCI.
This initiative aims to empower CSIs and SMEs to voice concerns regarding regulatory and policy issues to the government. Collaborating with our project partner BCCI has facilitated consultations with various sector associations representing the private sector, added Khampa.
He said sector associations under the BCCI, representing various sections of the private sector, have engaged in discussions regarding issues across three domains, including general economic development policies, business regulatory procedures, and policymaking and consultation processes.
In the first domain, Khampa said stakeholders will provide insights into prevailing economic policies such as the EDP, FI Act, FDI Policy, and PPP Policy. “Concerns over inconsistencies in these policies impacting business sectors have been duly noted.”
Regarding the review of business regulatory processes, Khampa said that the private sector identified key areas including licensing and permit regulations, manpower or labor regulations, access to finance, market accessibility, tax regulations, and service delivery.
Sector-specific issues, such as discrepancies in the Mineral Development Policy regarding export royalties, were also deliberated, Khampa further added.
In addressing policymaking and consultation processes, he also said that stakeholders emphasized the need for participatory approaches to ensure the effectiveness of policies in fostering private sector development.
“Streamlining policy and regulatory processes will uplift the private sector, creating better business and employment opportunities, contributing to the country’s economic development.”
The collaborative efforts of Bhutan’s private sector underscore a commitment to driving sustainable economic growth and fostering an environment conducive to business innovation and prosperity.
Through transparency, accountability, and meaningful dialogue, stakeholders are poised to chart a course toward a brighter economic future for Bhutan, said Khampa.