BCCI proposes draft Bill to protect business community

The Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) says the absence of a comprehensive legal framework to protect businesses is leaving many vulnerable to risks and uncertainties. Recognising the urgency of the situation, the BCCI is planning to submit a draft Bill, aimed to protect the needs of the business community to the government soon. This was discussed during the sensitisation and consultation meeting between the BCCI and the business community in Pema Gatshel, recently.

The president of the BCCI during the meeting said many businesses in Bhutan are compelled to adhere to various Acts imposed by different organisations. This, the president said largely affects the small and medium enterprises.

According to the president, today, 95 per cent of businesses registered under the BCCI are small and medium enterprises.

“We do not have a specific Act for the business community, which creates difficulties for middle and small-income businessmen. Large-scale businessmen can solve their problems independently; however, small businesses from remote districts and the east face significant challenges due to the lack of support,” said Tandy Wangchuk, president of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank says given the small market, apart from good infrastructure, good location, faster services, and easy access to finance, Bhutan should not underestimate the importance of policy reforms for the growth of the private sector.

“If a business goes bankrupt owing to exogenous reasons or licensing requirements or certain unfavourable factors, which are beyond its control, then, if that person comes to the bank asking can I reschedule the loan, I am trying to do this, but if the bank says no, you need to pay today. So, there are ways in which insolvency laws can be reformed and revised to make the equation between the banking sector and your entrepreneur less adversarial and more constructive,” said Shamit Chakravarti, the country director of the Bhutan Resident Mission, ADB.

The ADB in its latest Asian Development Outlook has stated that to overcome the resource gap in the 13th Five-Year Plan, which is estimated at nine per cent of the GDP, and to transform Bhutan into a high-income country by 2034, the country needs to adopt an innovative financing strategy, including the private sector.

According to the BCCI president, a private sector Bill has been drafted and will soon be submitted to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment.

Samten Dolkar & Thinley Dorji

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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