Doing business in Bhutan is already difficult. But it’s getting even more difficult.
Each year, the World Bank publishes a “Doing Business” report in which they rank countries according to the “ease of doing business” in those countries. Here’s how our country has fared in their report over the last few years.
In 2008, Bhutan was ranked 119 out of the 178 countries that the project studied.
In 2009, we fell to 124 out of 181 countries.
In 2010, we were placed at 126 out of 186 countries.
In 2011, we plummeted to 146 out of 183 countries
And in 2012, we improved slightly to 142 out of the 183 countries that were studied.
Our overall ease of doing business ranking fell from 119 to 142 during the period 2008 to 2012. Not good.
But it will get worse. Bhutan’s ranking is probably set to fall again.
Why? Because it’s getting harder to do business in Bhutan.
Why? Because the series of policy measures introduced by the government in light of the rupee crunch all make it much more difficult to do business in Bhutan.
Banks, for instance, cannot lend money. That means that businesses now do not have access to credit.
Informal trade across our borders have come to a standstill. And that has affected hundreds of small time business across the length and breadth of our country.
Import of a range of goods have been suddenly banned. That threatens the investments of a range of businesses.
And most recently, vegetable vendors will no longer be allowed to import vegetables; only FCB will. That means that dozens of vegetable vendors will soon lose their jobs to a government-owned company.
So Bhutan’s ranking in the next Doing Business report will probably take a beating.
Obviously, the ranking, in and by itself, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it really could be getting really more difficult to do business in Bhutan. And doing business – good business, and lots of it – is what we desperately need to overcome the current rupee crunch.
What also matters is that potential investors refer to the Doing Business reports. And investment – foreign and domestic – is what we desperately need to strengthen our economy, and ensure that we do not face another rupee crunch in the future.