Consultancy services to accelerate growth

Consultancy services to accelerate growth 14 July, 2009 – The government will be shelling out USD 9.1m (approx, Nu 432m) to a global management consultancy firm, McKinsey and company, to find ways to accelerate Bhutan’s economic growth.

The project titled ‘Accelerating Bhutan’s Economic Development’ is expected to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery in such a way that quality is improved at lower costs of delivery.

Another aim will be to generate jobs for a majority of the 90,000 projected job seekers in the current plan.

All these changes will have to be made in such a way as to have real impact on the ground and can be sustained over a long period of time, according to the government.

“The project will aim for a growth rate of more than 9 percent in the tenth plan,” said the head of the good governance section in the Cabinet Secretariat,

Dr Saamdu Chetri. “The savings the government makes through this project will more than make up for the consultancy cost.”

Dr Saamdu said the project was the initiative of the new government under the prime minister and would mainly focus on economic activities or areas linked to it.

The project will be for 23 months and, in the first three months, McKinsey and Co will study the current situation, identify problems and come out with a blueprint of recommendations for specific sectors. These will include pilot projects, which will be implemented over the next 20 months.

“Once successful, the pilot projects will be adopted in other sectors as well,” said gross national happiness commission (GNHC) secretary, Karma Tshiteem. The sectors and methodology of the pilot project will be decided in consultation with Bhutanese counterparts. Although not finalised, some of the key areas could be health, education, tourism and agriculture, where interventions are needed. The project consultants started work from July 1 and are currently meeting ministers, secretaries and other senior officials to get an idea of the ground situation.

“This is a unique initiative because usually a consultant’s job is done after handing in the report, but here the company will also be involved in ensuring the successful implementation of their recommendations,” said Dr Saamdu.

The United States, New Zealand, Canada, Kenya and the UK have also used McKinsey to stimulate economic growth. The project will have a high level joint steering committee, led by the prime minister, and consisting of cabinet ministers, secretaries to the government and McKinsey staff.

McKinsey will aim for ‘tight objectives with loose approach,’ where the goals are realistic and achievable, but there are different approaches or techniques to get to the goals with less red tape.

GNHC, which selected McKinsey and company, will implement the project. GNHC will mainly have coordinating functions, as the project will involve many sectors of the government. However, the respective ministries will also have their own implementation responsibility. Dr Saamdu said the company had been advised not to come up with a very commercial model, as in other countries, but to also keep in mind social goals and the philosophy of Gross National Happiness.


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