Thank you

A couple of late meetings prevented me from watching TV last night. So I watched BBS TV’s rebroadcast this morning. In particular, I watched Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, the officiating prime minister, and Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu, the finance minister, talk about the current economic situation.

I thank the government for going on national TV to explain the ongoing currency situation to the public at large. The two ministers are our most experienced financial experts. The two of them have served as finance ministers for a combined total of 14 years, and as finance secretaries for more than 10 years. So they are very qualified to speak on the rupee crunch, and to allay the public’s growing fears on the state of our economy.

I also thank the prime minister, who is in New York attending to other pressing matters, for deputing the officiating prime minister and the finance minister to address the nation on his behalf. The fact that the government has eventually addressed the nation at a time when our people’s confidence has been shaken is welcome and appreciated.

So, on behalf of the people, and without getting into the specifics of what was said on TV, I offer a sincere thank you to the government.

 

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  1. Thinlay says:

    I would also like to join OL to thank RGOB for explaining the cause and effect of rupee problem. I will refrain from word”crisis” as it has different connotation.

    I specifically liked one point raised by the Officiating PM which is about improving or streamlining trading system with India. He suggested that Bhutan should import goods in bulk and redistribute once entered Bhutan. This will avoid individuals vendors buying goods directly from India. The mechanism how this will be done should be worked out. But to my dismay, two Ministers did not utter a word for a need to invest substantially in food production as a kind of important fiscal measure. They talked lot on hydro power, which is necessary but we should remember that it is a long term measure that will yield return after many years of operation. Immediate measures like changing consumption pattern and importing luxury or non essential items must be given due priority. Prospect of raising tax on vehicle and junk food has been raised and i wholeheartedly welcome it. Overall, they tried their best to alleviate our worries but Government should do more to stem the problem being blown out more. More importantly, we should keep our cool and tighten our belt if necessary until the problem is lessened.

    Thanks and Cheers

  2. sonam_t says:

    I had an opportunity to watch it online, la. Although I failed to grasp the kernel of their talk, this is what they said:

    a) that some people would cash in on this financial crisis (I still think this term befits the situation) to discredit the govt.;

    b)that this financial crisis will benefit our private sector.

  3. Kelpazangla says:

    OL’s first time appreciation to the ruling party government is also appreciated. That is like a genuine Opposition Party!

    I am yet skeptical about importing in bulk and redistributing to our retail business community. It calls in a high risk of corruption if management of the bulk import is undertaken by the government and it will become another BigWig profit making opportunity if privatised. Instead, I would suggest the government to invest on Commercial Agriculture in our viable southern belt and reconsider infrastructure development policies including harnessing of the hydropower potential to reduce manpower and material import. Then, revise the electricity tariff for both export and local industries.

    Only reduction of import of manpower, materials and food items will address the Rupee crunch!

  4. The two Lyonpos have surely served many years in economics affairs and finance. But the responses didn’t seem anywhere near economics literate ! The justification just didn’t make sense at all. There was simply a lot of time killing talk.
    One point about streamlining trading system with and importing goods in bulk would mean- monopoly is good.
    The Lyonpos talked a lot about Hydro power – the income from hydro power is long term, lot of money invested in this projects are not staying in country, huge money goes out in buying it’s consumption. There lot of environmental hazards, costs of which we will have to bear. If India gets nuclear energy, our hydro would be useless to them.

    I am afraid, I sensed unpreparedness and hence no action.

  5. After over four years of political divide, OL uttered a word of thanks to the ruling government and it is much better attitude of him. Ihope he also learnt what economy is all about and how it works from the talks given by the two experienced ministers. Is it a problem or crisis, it depends on how one looks at. A problem can be damaging but a crisis can be destroying. Has rupee crunch been destroying?

  6. Deb-Ngagpo says:

    LIke it or not to call the current Re shortage a “crisis”, it has not spared any section of the society from poor farmers, pilgrims, students to businesses and the government at large. The truth is the entire government including civil servants, PMs and to some extent the private sector, today is bogged down trying to find solutions to this CRISIS that it didnt heed or turned a blind eye to. And the answers and solutions to this are all hard to comeby. Things like enhancing GoI line of credit and SBI overdraft facility are short term remedies that will come back to us again with even greater implications. By then, this government would have either left and re-elected to it coming once again. Unless long terms strategies are thought out and undertaken, this will be a vicious cycle we will witness and feel the brunt of.

  7. I agree with Kelpa. For many years some business houses were doing bulk import and supplying to local buyers. That operation was monopolistic in nature which is again not advisable. Ministry of economic affairs must ensure that monopoly is disallowed. Every Dzongkhag must have 2 to 3 bulk importers and suppliers depending on the size of the dzongkhag. A criteria should be formatted to as to who gets to do business… capital, experience in transport and transit management etc.

    The Agri ministry should be put on high alert to grow vegetables and grains to reduce grain import. Dairy farming to to reduce tetra packed dairy products import. Poultry is gaining grounds. Overall, the government must create enabling conditions for our youth to go back to the roots to become modern and hwere possible, start mechanized farming in small ways. Stop junk food like koka, wai wai, chips and other non essential items. In the next 3 years time, we’ll really feel like a GNH country and people and won’t have to look for rupee on a regular basis.

  8. tshezang says:

    still all these measures may not work during implementation….. .. it may go back to the same old thing after some time… so continue with the old system but let every one have a visa card so that they can buy wherever they want…..

  9. Kelpazangla says:

    tshezang, lets talk on the ground. When most bhutanese farmers are not able to open a saving account in the banks, Visa Card remains in the air.

  10. shortage of Rupee is biggest concern of all the citizen of bhutan.
    now it is our responsibilities to turn this problem in to opportunities. so that our future generation don’t ve to face same problem again, also present generation don’t have to suffer from this problem again.

    why this shortage is occurred?
    answer is simple, we import more than what we export.
    solution for it.
    export more…..
    but what is problem?
    we don’t know what to produce and export to india and other countries. we have limited arable land. exporting forest product ll certainly be disaster due to our geographical location.
    what is there we made export?
    we need to do brain-storming… farmers need to do… civil servants, business men and women, govt…. i mean all of us need to take this as an opportunities and think….think…
    where there is problem… there is solution…

  11. The talk on the economy was all nonsense. This was another theatrical play staged to save the DPT image. Experienced they may be as ministers of finance, but the situation of the country tells a story not of experience of occupying the seat, but of the experience of knowing the economic realities. And I saw that there was none, and there is a lot left wanting.

    BBS as usual was manipulated to align with what the govt cronies want to say. A good govt takes tough decisions during tough times, but this govt has only been defensive. Old dirt must not be swept under the carpet. It is time some heads roll, be they bald or not. The govt must start to accept mistakes, only then can things move forward.

  12. Rational-Man says:

    I vividly remember of my childhood days when we use to import only salt and kerosene oil for one year stock. Now everything is imported from India and virtually nothing is produced locally.

    Vegetables from Falakata or Barpeta, which are deadly toxic given the chemical content it has. I have been told that unethical farmers there spray heavy doses of chemical on the vegetable to induce oversized growth and thus weigh more before it is brought to the market.

    Rather than complaining that government is not doing anything we should be equally responsible for the INR shortage. We have imported heavily from India which could have been avoided. Opposition Party is equally responsible to educate the people about the situation and its reality.

  13. for all the years they have been employed, the 2 ministers did not offer any real solutions nor time frame..increasing the credit limit is not a solution, as deb points out..it is digging bhutan into a deeper hole, a measure that reveals how helpless & ignorant government is..
    falcon talked of bald heads..it may be probable that bhutan has less inr than hair on the minister’s head..
    as for wangdi norbu, that man is responsible for this crisis, through his current tenure & previous terms as the finance man..he reports to parliament that there is no rupee crisis but a few months or so, people don’t have access to it..duh..
    the 2 of them saying it’s not unusual is lies..try telling that to all the folks like students, parents, patients, small business vendors who are desperate for rupees..what’s not unusual is the ignorance & snobbish attitude of these 2 government ministers in the wake of a situation never seen before today..the pm, in his cunning style,, goes globe trotting &
    leaves it to the 2 poor souls to defend their inefficiency..
    having infamously stated that he wished tata of india would adopt bhutan, perhaps he should take a detour on his travel & beg them to do so..now..

  14. Topden, lets not hope so. Ruppee crisis is so serious that the sovereignty of the nation is at stake.

    And this two experienced minister are experienced minister only in looting the nations wealth. Nothing more then that, the MoF is solely responsible for all these crisis and he should resign on moral ground like Dr. Gado. How could Lyonpo Wangdi have a VX8 (Land cruiser, when he already have the blue Prado), when he knew tht Crisis was knocking at his Door.

    Lyonpo Zimba has lost track of his own ministry. He might have lost focus for the Hotel.

    About BBS and Kuensel, the readers here need to know that they are controlled by Govt. and they will be playing major role in next election, indirectly campaigning for DPT. These two media houses are just for the show.

  15. Thank you OL for bringing out the issue forward and making government explain on rupees crunch.However all the solution that government gave seems blunt and short term.Instead government should find long longterm solution.Without any study,just bluntly increasing the tax may not be the solution.Instead,it will negatively affect low and middle income people.For example, vehicle is necessity in this wold,therefore, increasing the tax will unnecessarily affect the poor and middle income people in GNH Country.And why increase tax when we have to depend everything from country.Elsewhere, more tax are levied in order to encourage domestic product consumption.But our case is different.Govt is bringing temporary measure which will tightened poor peoples hand their mistake.

  16. Thank you OL for bringing out the issue forward and making government explain on rupees crunch.However all the solution that government gave seems blunt and short term.Instead government should find long longterm solution.Without any study,just bluntly increasing the tax may not be the solution.Instead,it will negatively affect low and middle income people.For example, vehicle is necessity in this wold,therefore, increasing the tax will unnecessarily affect the poor and middle income people in GNH Country.And why increase tax when we have to depend everything from other country.In other countries, more tax are levied in order to encourage domestic product consumption.But our case is different.Govt is bringing temporary measure which will tightened poor peoples hand their mistake.

  17. Haha … pankila is right. Government should abolish all taxes to solve the problem.

  18. A New Child Discarded to Die???? says:

    A Newborn Baby discarded.
    A newborn baby was discarded in the Brooklet between BBS and Telecom. It was girl, strong and healthy.
    It was around 11:30 when I saw one group of crowd looking from the footpath from Telecom side and one group who were mainly BBS staff staring down from BBS Fence.
    Few people murmured that they saw the child whining and dog busy feasting on it. By the time people chased away and reached there fighting their way through bushes, the child was dead. The dog has almost eaten half of its arms.
    Yet people stood there, some trying to put dead body on safer place so that dog didn’t get again. Some people were just gazing with sympathy. Some people were blaming the mother saying they wanted to see mother’s face. After half an hour, I called police in 113. The police arrived 30 minutes later.

    I am shocked. I don’t blame the mother. I just wondered what could be the circumstances that led mother to do such thing. It was dreadful but circumstances must have been deadlier for here.
    What can we as an individuals and what can government do to prevent such acts? Please form some important agencies to look after it….not only RENEW or NCWC

  19. It is universal truth that the rupee problem is due to too much import and too less export. Our farmers do not want to work and what produce is expected? What can the government do about it?

  20. Deb-Nagpo says:

    Can we afford to spare this Daw Tenzin? He seem to be lost deep in pride and admiration of his post. If not more, he is equally to be blamed. He is a figure head there with no sound monetary policies cultivation. Given the full autonomy and limitead fiscal dominance now, this man should have seen the problem and been aggressive in implementing policies. He like the finance ministry shouldnt have ignored the situation. They are all together a bunch of failures…..

  21. Kudoos to OL, for thanking sincerely ruling party at last. really nice of you. i have been following your blog since u started it.
    this is the only note u have written thanking the present govt.once again cheers.

  22. pankila says:

    Now it is the time for Agriculture Ministry to bring some lucrative strategies to support more agriculture,diary,poultry and horticulture farming.That is the only way we can become self reliance and reduce depending on other countries instead of just increasing the tax.Imposing tax may not be the best solution instead it will negatively affect the poor and middle income people by making things unaffordable.As a result,health and wellbeing of the middle income people will be affected which is more serious problem than the rupees crunch.Therefore, govt should do strong study and come up with solution for long run.Peoples health and wellbeing is first priority and should not compromise their health by making things unaffordable.

  23. Kudos to OL… We need leaders like you in Bhutan!

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