420 for McKinsey

Dasho Kinley Dorji to Kuensel, last week, defending the government’s decision to hire McKinsey:

I was told that the total amount of money the government spends on consultants in a year is actually more than the amount made public. It’s about what you are getting for what you are paying. We need to define what is too expensive and too cheap.

That we hire too many consultants is common knowledge. But that the government spends more for them than we are led believe is not.

We should be very concerned if we suspect that the government is misleading the public. And we should be doubly concerned if the government uses that very transgression to justify spending even more money to hire even more consultants.

McKinsey is costing us US$ 9.2 million. That’s about 420 million ngultrums.

420 million for 17 McKinsey consultants. But they are not even full-time consultants. Eight of them will work in Bhutan only in the first year. And, five of them will be available only in the second year.

And the remaining four? They, we are told, are “…top leaders at the prime minister’s level who fly in and out of the country.”

Incredible!

Incidentally, the government spends Nu 440 million a month on pay and allowances for the entire public service.

That’s 440 million for the more than 21,000 full-time employees of the government. And that includes all civil servants, ministers, members of parliament, constitutional post holders, local functionaries, and those serving abroad.

Now back to McKinsey. The government is paying them 420 million. That’s a lot of money. Let’s hope that they are worth it. If not, we’ll be forced to shout: “420!”