Allaying fears that the country would be deprived of aid and funds after graduating to a middle-income country, development partners assured support to Bhutan even after the graduation at the 14th Round Table Meeting (RTM) that concluded on Friday.
Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Koji Yamada said that there is a misinformation that development partners will not support Bhutan after the LDC graduation. He said that JICA would continue to support and be in partnership in Bhutan’s development.
The chief representative said that the agency has programs for highlander. However, population size and long winter in schools is big challenge. He invited other development partners, CSOs and ministers to be there.
The Resident Representative of World Bank, Yoichiro Ishihara said there is a fear saying, “Will the World Bank stay away from Bhutan?” “No, it is not a matter of going away, but how to customize the supply from private side and demand from government side,” he said. He added that graduation is not a goal but a midpoint.
Delegation from Japan, Second Secretary to the Embassy of Japan in New Delhi, Aya Suzuki said Japan will continue to provide assistance to Bhutan.
Ambassador of Finland to Bhutan, Harri Kamarainen said that Finland has been supporting NGOs, CSOs in Bhutan. He assured further support to Bhutan in areas of business-to business partnership and to vulnerable groups.
The Deputy Managing Director of ASIAPAC- European External Action Service, Paola Pampaloni congratulated Bhutan’s journey to the LDC graduation and successful democratic transition. She appreciated Bhutan’s conducive policy and framework.
During the last day of RTM, she said, “European Union (EU) will remain committed to support Bhutan even after LDC graduation.” She also confirmed that EU will remains Bhutan’s transition partnership and in Europe Asia connection through people to contact and other network.
One of the Co-Chair during the meeting, minister of economic affairs, Loknath Sharma said that real economist would not invest in Bhutan. He invited investors on small scale industries. The minister said, “Foreign Development Investment policy doesn’t differentiate anyone and anyone kind enough can come and invest in Bhutan.”
On Friday, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said,“Through RTM, doors are open for further discussion and all the donor agencies are looking in which areas they can help.” It was the biggest achievement of 14th RTM where development partners assured support and all the events will go beyond five years, according to Lyonchhen.
During the concluding press of RTM, foreign minister Dr Tandi Dorji expressed his optimism of the support of the development partners and that the targets set in12th Plan and beyond will be achieved.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Gerald Daly said that UN in Bhutan would work on supporting small-scale industries.
By Sangay Rabten