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OPINION-The Great Economic Mirage, Private Employees Caught in Countryโ€™s Fiscal Frenzy

In a recent development, the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) has introduced revised taxi and bus fares, which is being hailed as a move to compensate for inflation and provide a slight relief to civil servants who have recently received a pay hike. While some view this as a positive step towards economic growth, I, on the other hand, remain skeptical and feel compelled to share the woes of individuals like me who have been part of the private workforce, tirelessly contributing to the nationโ€™s development.

For years, I have taken pride in being a part of the private sector-the driving force behind Bhutanโ€™s economy. The size of my paycheck never mattered much to me, as my modest familyโ€™s needs were met. I have never been driven by ambition or materialism, and my family has always supported my values and lifestyle choices.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic turned our lives upside down. As a private sector employee, I suddenly felt marginalized in a world where I once felt valued. In the midst of a global crisis, our small and often-overlooked nation left us feeling insignificant and stripped of our pride. My family endured hardships in silence, and our struggles grew with each passing day.

After the pandemic, I was determined to regain my footing and thought I had succeeded. But as I reentered the workforce, it was like stepping into a new and unfamiliar world-one where businesses were struggling to survive, and I found myself on the brink of unemployment. The post-pandemic era has been unforgiving to those of us who work in the private sector, especially those without qualifications for government jobs.

As the country reopened, the one thing that has consistently risen is the cost of goods and services-inflation. And I am not alone in this struggle; many others like me are caught in the same predicament. What about those of us who have dedicated our lives to private companies and lack the qualifications for government service? Are we destined to face doomsday as rising prices gradually squeeze us to the brink of financial ruin?

The government seems to be on a relentless quest to increase taxes and raise the prices of essential goods and services, all while the economy spirals downward. Itโ€™s a centrifugal force thatโ€™s pushing us private sector workers to the very edge.

Itโ€™s worth acknowledging that civil servants, with their recent pay hike, have received some respite. However, this move seems to ignore the struggles of those who toil tirelessly in the private sector. Are we not equally important contributors to the nationโ€™s progress?

Letโ€™s not forget that the private sector plays a pivotal role in Bhutanโ€™s economic landscape. We are the engine that drives the economy, generating revenue, creating jobs, and fostering innovation. Itโ€™s disheartening to see that our contributions are often overlooked, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the governmentโ€™s intentions may be well-placed, the implementation of policies that predominantly benefit civil servants and neglect the private sector can have adverse effects on the overall economy. If businesses in the private sector continue to suffer, there will be a ripple effect-unemployment will rise, livelihoods will be threatened, and the economic landscape will become even more uncertain.

Moreover, increasing taxes and the cost of living only exacerbate the hardships faced by private sector employees. We are already grappling with the challenges brought on by the pandemic, and these additional financial burdens only serve to push us further into economic turmoil.

Itโ€™s time for the government to take a more holistic approach to economic recovery-one that recognizes the importance of both the public and private sectors. Policies should be designed to support all segments of the workforce, not just a select few.

The recent revision in taxi and bus fares may offer some respite to civil servants and certain sectors of the economy, but it leaves those of us in the private sector feeling overlooked and undervalued. Itโ€™s essential for the government to consider the broader economic implications of its policies and work towards a more inclusive approach that supports all segments of the workforce. Bhutanโ€™s economy relies on the contributions of both public and private sector employees, and itโ€™s time to acknowledge and address the challenges faced by the latter.

Engine of Economy

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