RPD: Brief Background
The Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI), for the first time in its history, set up a separate wing within its secretariat to carry out research activities, in 2010 following an organizational restructuring program. The RPD then was headed by the Chief Research Officer with two fairly fresh graduate officers as support officers. Objectively, establishment of a ‘research & policy department’ was an endeavor to elevate the institution from an ad-hoc & reactive approach of representation & lobbying to a research-based public-private dialogue system. Such a switch was essential for the BCCI towards meaningful representation of the Bhutanese private sector.
The Royal Government has duly recognized the BCCI as a true institutional partner to work together for promoting the Bhutanese private sector and the economy at large. Today, with such recognition, BCCI is taken meaningfully on board for consultations, a positive deviation from the traditional system of engaging the institution often for conveying decisions.
Albeit the RPD’s mandated research roles, the department’s activities were lesser internally driven or oriented and more on representation, coordination of consultations and interventions on policy matters. Again, internal driven or proactive research activities were limited by weak professional capacity of the personnel in the department.
Given the similarity of works to be delivered, and for efficient allocation of limited human resources within the Chamber, the RPD was clubbed with the Private Sector Development Committee (PSDC) Secretariat in early 2012 under the fresh organizational restructuring exercise. With four dedicated graduate officers, this division was headed by the Secretary, PSDC Secretariat.
In July 2013, the RPD was separated from the PSDC Secretariat and placed under a separate department head with the same four officers staffing the department.
RPD - Broad Roles & Responsibilities
Today, the RPD is engaged in both internally and externally driven research and consultation works. With the focus and direction of the BCCI now aligned to promotion of ‘One Dzongkhag-Three Products’ (ODTP) economic development mantra, the internal driven research activities have evolved mainly from the ODTP, which shall continue for another two years atleast. For better clarity, the roles and responsibilities of the RPD are listed below:
Internal driven research & facilitation activity
- One-District-Three-Products (ODTP) initiative: The RPD, as its first document on ODTP initiative has already come out with a preliminary research paper on economic resource mapping titled ‘One District-Three Products – The way forward for enhancing rural-urban interconnectedness and livelihood’. This document however is a desk research-based paper that shall be validated through in-field consultations in each district later.
- Project establishment facilitation under ODTP: Several cottage and small projects would be indentified for establishment under ODTP initiative. The RPD shall be the facilitator in this front until a separate ODTP Secretariat is established and made fully functional.
- Access to finance: Research and study on alternative financing mechanism for cottage and small industries primarily under the ODTP initiative
- As a part of the ODTP value chain management activity, the RPD shall also be engaged in studying possible access to markets including market mainstreaming
- Coordination of focused group discussions (FGDs) on private sector development and documentation of the outcome of such discussions in to private sector position papers shall rest with the RBP.
- Development of research-based position papers: Under the Accelerated Economic Development Plan (AEDP), the BCCI as a part of its research activity has identified tentative ‘issues for consultation with different ministries & agencies’. Several issues that are identified in this document could provide research topics for the RPD to undertake detailed studies.
- Coordination/Hosting of public-private sector dialogue on economic issues and participation in similar forums
- Documentation / compilation and publication of research reports
External driven consultation / research & analysis activity
- Review and analysis of draft policy documents, guideline papers;
- Coordination & hosting of FGDs for private sector feedback on policy papers;
- Representation of the private sector in various committees & forums;
- Participation in the research activities of other agencies on like issues;
Implementation of donor-supported project(s)
The RPD is entrusted with the responsibility of managing the FDOV Project 14BT46, which is a public-private partnership project towards sustainable diary supply-chain development in Chukha and Samtse Dzongkhags. This 54-month project that concludes on 31 December 2019 is supported by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) through its subsidy grant with half of the project funds chipped-in by the industry partner – M/s Zimdra Foods Private Limited.
Beyond, the RPD as the department tasked with the above external driven activities is required to allocate substantial time and resources for ad-hoc works that are difficult to be identified, quantified and incorporated in the annual work plan.