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Minimise government interventions: EFN conference

Nidup Gyeltshen, Thimphu
Nov 24, 2015

Minimise government interventions- EFN conferenceIn a latest report compiled by the Fraser institute, Canada, Bhutan ranks 87 out of 157 countries in economic freedom. The ranking takes account of indicators such as government’s share of the total economy, legal system, monetary stability, freedom to trade internationally and regulations.

Although Bhutan performs relatively better in indicators such as regulations, it is lacking in government’s share of the total economy. The report states, when government spending is higher than individuals, households and businesses, government decision is substituted for personal choice and economic freedom is reduced.

Various local and international experts, during the conference on economic freedom at the capital, said government interventions should exist only in areas where necessary and it should be reduced if it impedes economic freedom.

Sunil Rasaily, Founding partner of QED, a private research firm said although Bhutan maybe lacking in some areas, it has done relatively better than most SAARC countries in economic freedom.

“As far as Bhutan’s ranking in the index is concerned, we are pretty okay. We score 87 out of 157 countries that are featured in the report. In contrast to other countries in South Asia, we have the best ranking.”

He said the next closest country is Sri Lanka which is ranked somewhere at 104. “But if we compare Bhutan’s ranking at the world average, I think there is room for improvement. There are around five domains and there are some areas where we can improve.”

Joint secretary of the economic affairs ministry, Sonam P Wangdi said more measures and reforms are in the pipeline to improve investment climate in the country including a major overhaul of the 2010 Economic Development Policy.

To reduce government’s share to the economy, some speakers also suggested divesting shares of government enterprises.

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