Thimphu, March 2, 2017 — The Royal Government of Bhutan and the World Bank signed into effect today a grant of US$680,000 for the Bhutan Living Standard Survey (BLSS) and Economic Census. This is in addition to a World Bank grant of US$170,000, already effective, to provide technical assistance to the National Statistics Bureau.
The BLSS is a national household survey undertaken by the National Statistics Bureau. Previous rounds of the BLSS were conducted in 2003, 2007 and 2012, and the next round is scheduled in March 2017. The BLSS provides key socio-economic indicators, including national poverty estimates. The Economic Census, the first of its kind in Bhutan, will be a critical input to the ongoing efforts to improve National Accounts statistics, such as GDP. The BLSS and Economic Census have strategic importance for the Royal Government of Bhutan to assess the achievement of the 11th Five-Year Plan (FYP) and set baselines for the 12th FYP.
“The World Bank is glad to support this initiative as part of our strategic engagement on statistical development around the world,” said Yoichiro Ishihara, the World Bank’s Resident Representative for Bhutan. “Our support to Bhutan’s statistics system began through the development of the National Statistics Development Strategy (NSDS) in 2014. This newest investment builds on our strong commitment to strengthening Bhutan’s statistical capacity, in order to better understand and reach Bhutan’s most vulnerable citizens.”
The grant was signed by Namgay Dorji, Finance Minister, on behalf of the Royal Government of Bhutan, and Yoichiro Ishihara, Resident Representative for Bhutan, on behalf of the World Bank.
“The Royal Government of Bhutan is thankful to the World Bank for supporting both the 2017 BLSS and the Economic Census. Developing robust statistics system is critical for evidence-based development management in Bhutan. The results of the BLSS and the Economic Census will provide critical information to achieve the objective of 12th FYP of a Just, Harmonious and Sustainable Society through Enhanced Decentralization,” said Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, Minister of Finance. Lyonpo also emphasized the importance of collecting quality data.
The Grant is provided through the Trust Fund for Statistics Capacity Building (TFSCB), a multi-donor trust fund that aims to improve developing countries’ capacity to produce and use statistics, with the overall objective of supporting effective decision-making for development.