Thimphu, Bhutan – February 6, 2024 – Today, representatives from the private sector convened at the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to undertake a comprehensive review of the nation’s business regulatory framework, in response to the Executive Order issued by the newly elected government to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Employment (MoICE). The objective is to submit refined recommendations by March 1, 2024.
Hosted by the BCCI and facilitated by the V4GCP project, led by the Handicrafts Association of Bhutan (HAB), the gathering saw representatives from various sector associations engaging in preliminary discussions aimed at scrutinizing and enhancing the existing business regulatory processes. Emphasizing collaboration and synergy, sector associations highlighted three crucial domains for feedback to the government: general economic development policies, business regulatory procedures, and policymaking processes and consultations.
In the first domain, stakeholders will provide insights into prevailing economic policies such as the Economic Development Policy, Financial Incentives Act, Foreign Direct Investment Policy, and Public Private Partnership Policy, etc. Concerns over inconsistencies in these policies impacting business sectors have been duly noted.
Regarding the review of business regulatory processes, the private sector identified key areas including licensing regulations, manpower/labour 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.
In addressing policymaking processes and consultations, stakeholders emphasized the need for participatory approaches to ensure the effectiveness of policies in fostering private sector development.
Over 100 existing policies, rules, and regulations are slated for comprehensive review and streamlining by respective sector associations. The private sector commends the proactive stance of the government in initiating this process early on.
“This underscores the government’s commitment to bolstering the private sector,” remarked Tandin Wangchuk, President of the BCCI. “We eagerly anticipate a transformative shift in regulatory mechanisms, crucial for the country’s economic advancement.”
Championing the cause of cottage and small industries (CSIs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the V4GCP project aligns closely with the government’s call for regulatory review, as highlighted by Mr. Chorten Dorji, Executive Director of the Handicrafts Association of Bhutan leading the V4GCP Project.
Identifying existing bottlenecks and barriers, Khampa, Project Manager of the V4GCP Project, affirmed the commitment to deliver actionable recommendations for enhancing Bhutan’s business ecosystem. The engagement of diverse stakeholders in the review process is deemed essential for effective consultation and tangible outcomes.
The private sector stands poised to contribute meaningfully to the evolution of a more conducive business environment, with a collective vision of positioning Bhutan as a global leader in ease of doing business in the years ahead.