Pound foolish, penny wise

But not literally

Being too cautious with small amounts of money now, could cost you a lot of money later. All of us are familiar with this universal truth. In fact, there’s a well known idiom for it: penny wise, pound foolish.

But what about the opposite? What if you spend a lot of money  now, and end up having to count every penny later? That would be foolish, plain and simple. No idiom is needed, and none exists, to describe such fools.

The government spend more than US$ 10 million to hire McKinsey. That works out to about Nu 500 million.

The government spent more than Nu 500,00 million and, last week, they announced, with pride, that, in 2011, they realized a savings of Nu 370,110 from cement rebates.

I don’t know whether to laugh … or to cry.


Facebook Comments:


  1. tshering wangdi says

    Reading your article it reminds me of a Gambler, who is happy when he wins once but forgets and ignore that he has lost several times which phenomenally surpasses his win.

    i still don’t know what Mckinsey had done. i dont FEEL any impact. everything is as same as before and even at the brink of being worst…

  2. Its just the beginning ..As said by the Governor how can we solve by rationalising taxation ..??

  3. tenzin wangmo says

    McKinsey is a big flop of our government. Why do we need McKinsey to negotiate with our cement manuafacturers to save us a few lakhs in a year in rebates? Nu. 500 millions could have been spent on our poor people living without decent livelihoods in the villages.

  4. Dear OL,
    I am not writing to comment on this issue as this non-issue for me as i don’t know which developing country save money. I just want to know how you moderate the comments on your blog.

    I used to comment in your blog under three names with contrasting views. Generally, I feel you publish the comments which are:
    1. balanced without pointing finger either at PDP/DPT
    2. Comments praising you and PDP
    3. comments that lambast the DPT.

    If the comments are extreme pro-DPT and against PDP, you never show it in your blog.

    Please enlighten me with moderation criteria. I don’t have proof but that is what i feel.

  5. Kelpazangla says

    McKinsey is the first thing on the list of DPT’s mistake. DPT Govt paid Nu.500 million to train young Indian graduates who freshly joined McKinsey. So, the only positive note we can take is that the Indian Rupee gained on grant, loan or electricity revenue from India has been spend on training Indian citizens. Bhutan as a small neighbor has been part of its big brother’s capacity building exercise.

    defoz, here, at least I can boldy say that I have never noticed moderation in OL’s blog. I have often gone too extreme accusing OL and everything I posted came plain and raw on the blog. This is something I always appreciate with OL’s weblog.

  6. I heard of McKinsey but never really understood for what specific purpose it has been hired.I also don’t see any unique trend of activities/developments happening. Could you please write about McKinsey’s coming to Bhutan in your next post.

  7. I think some good ideas from the Mckinsey Co. are:

    1. G2C initiative–brilliant idea but having difficulties at the moment to streamline and put it into full practice. In some cases, e.g. security clearance, online banking, geog one stop shop, MoAF’s necessary inputs delivery systems, are about to be put into full practice

    2. ABSD (Accelerated Bhutan Socio economic Development) initiatives put into practice at least in agriculture, education and health sectors. For example, rice commercialization program is in full swing and there is already some visible progress made

    3. Government expenses cutting measures being implemented but benefits and net saving has to be revealed by the government

    4. outsourcing services from private sectors–actually excellent idea but how much of it is put into practice???

    5. is there follow up measures from the Company after paying them heavy fee?

    In my view the company did not fully understand our physio-geographic and socio-eco- cultural difficulties and intricacies; therefore whatever they try to propose are based on models applicable in different socio-cultural-economic setting. This perhaps is one reasons why the reforms suggested by the company is having teething difficulties in implementation.

    But I agree that it was very expensive operation and let us hope to see some benefits–if not immediately but after sometime. In no way, i am defending anybody here. It is just my viewpoint.


  8. mckinsey was an experiment by jigmi thinley & this government..an experiment that cost too much for an ldc like bhutan..that same money could have improved the lives of our rural folk or improved delivery of public services which is presently quite painful..
    these fellows came in, they saw & they left..laughing all the way to the bank..for doing nothing really meaningful, they got paid handsomely..
    jigmi thinley & his comrades should remember it is too easy to be lavish with public money..having spent, no wasted, this resource, they should think how poor bhutan is..or how this money could have otherwise been spent more effectively..
    that when push comes to shove, it is our kings who have to visit delhi to enhance assistance from our indian friends..

  9. Domchosertong says

    The only thing which came with Mc Kinsey by our goverment is that they have made our common people to pay for the health services which used to free once by the blessing our beloved monarch like for example paying for medical certificate to be name amonng many example. In 2002 if am not mistaken with year, our then Lyonpo Sangay Nedup( Minister) for ministry of health and education made a move for health donation, which main aim was to keep the health services free for common people, I wonder where our present government have take those resources contributed, because evry news paper i see shortage of drugs….hiring the fresh Indian graduate of McKinsey to work is one of the biggest failure of government I think……till now i didnt find any value addition of them…..

  10. I am still confused with this Mc Kinsey and what they did for BHutan. What ! their payment is Nu 500 million wow its half a billion Nu.

    One has rightfully said that the money was used to train fresh Indian Graduates……

    I don’t know about others but the G2C project (is a failure ) the G2C center launched in January 2012 in my gewog is no good.

    The PM said that we can apply for timber permits online from there but when we went there it is not true we have to take the hard copy form from the Gups office fill it up, meet with the tshogpa and lots of other people in person to get clearances (this took about 2 weeks) after that we had to go to the dzongkhag forest office and the dzongkhag range office were it took a lot of time. Even today everything is manual and nothing is online as promised????

  11. True. Service delivery improvement schemes, e.g. G2C, suggested by the Mckinsey company is premised on having high speed uninterrupted online internet connection, which is non-existent in many parts of the country. Even in the capital, ICT connectivity is not reliable. In such situation, implementation of several G2C initiatives will be very difficult. We also need to train dedicated professionals to man such system. In other words, we tried to run before we could walk. Somewhere, our priorities are screwed up.


  12. tenzin wangmo says

    Was G2C an initiative of McKInsey? It was there during Lyonp Leki as the MoiC minister?

  13. G2C became buzz word when Mckinsey Co. was in the country. It could very well be initiatives by MOIC during Lyonpo Lekey’s time. I think we need someone to enlighten us on this subject.


  14. Result of McKinsey inputs are…..

    1. Shortage of Drugs…

    2. Rupee Crunch..causes

    3. All their findings and reports are highly CONFIDENTIAL

  15. 4..And of course pay for the Medical Certificate without actually doing any checks ups…just for the Medical Doctor’s Signature and Seal……

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