Discontinuing FYP drafts will be a big blunder: Opposition

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa

SONAM PENJOR

Thimphu

The Opposition Party has lashed out on the government stating that it must continue with the practice of preparing a draft Five Year Plan (FYP) and discontinuing it will be a big blunder.

The opposition said the preparation of a draft FYP is critical to inclusive, equitable and balanced outcomes of socio-economic development of the country.

A press release from the Opposition Party states that it provides continuity from one plan to another, and forms an important basis for an elected government to build its five-year development plans and programmes in line with the overarching national vision and goals.

“We have learnt the present Government is adamant on discontinuing the time-tested development planning tradition of preparing a draft FYP. This abrupt decision will have huge implications, seriously disrupting the socio-economic development and overall governance of the country. The Opposition Party is deeply concerned about it,” the Opposition wrote.

In adding, the press release also added that the immediate impact of the absence of a draft FYP will include: affecting equity in planning and resource allocation, regional balanced development, independence of local governments and professionalism of civil service, among others.

“It will lead to highly arbitrary and politicized planning and resource allocation, undermining the functions of different institutions of governance including the local governments,” the opposition party said.

A draft plan will be critical to both domestic and external resource planning and mobilization too. Thus, “It will be a big blunder on the part of the present Government to do away with the practice of preparing a draft FYP.”

Further, with just two years left to end the present plan and the tenure of the present Government, the opposition believes it will be timely to start the preparatory works. Further, new local governments will be in place by early 2022, added the press release.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Party strongly urge the Government to immediately advise the Gross National Happiness Commission Secretariat to initiate the process of drafting the 13th FYP to ensure a professional, seamless and progressive planning and development.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) fully supported the Government’s plans to discontinue the FYP process. A press release from BKP states that this development model has served its purpose, and now needs a paradigm shift to a more dynamic and versatile platform where long-awaited priority sectors of the economy be smartly harnessed for collective gains.

“In a world of scarcity, it serves rare purpose to spread resources thinly for the sake of equitable regional distribution with no foreseeable returns. Centralized decision-making under the FYP has not always been the most efficient way to run the economy leaving the dzongkhags and gewogs short of capacity in all facets,” BKP stated.

Capacity outside the capital is infrequently built with the entire planning process templated from Thimphu. That said, rural development and concerns for vulnerable groups must continue along with measured investments in health and education, added the press release.

BKP further added: “Rather than focusing on what results will be achieved by the end of five years, it is time we deep dive on the five jewels identified since time immemorial and act on it now. Working backwards by setting targets (economic and social), and accordingly charting an implementation strategy might be worthy.”