Bhutanese MPs questions discriminatory allocation of business projects among districts

Bhutanese lawmakers have questioned the government policy of providing credit to businesses, alleging that business projects in few cities were given preference over those from other districts

Jun 11, 2021
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Bhutan

Bhutanese lawmakers have questioned the government policy of providing credit to businesses, alleging that business projects in few cities were given preference over those from other districts.

A total of 45 among the 81 business projects approved under a scheme, the National Credit Guarantee Scheme (NGCS), of the Bhutanese government, is spread in just two districts, Thimphu and Paro, projects’ details released by the government in the parliament pointed out.

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering, who comes from Paro, released the project details and their locations in parliament on Thursday, Kuensel reported. He also heads the committee on the National Credit Guarantee Scheme.  

The Economic and Finance committee of the National Assembly’s had pointed out that most projects were in western districts and it had failed to cater to far-flung districts and blocks. Members argued that it would ultimately create "regional imbalance and an upsurge in the rural-urban divide."

The NCGS has approved 34 and 11 projects in Thimphu and Paro respectively. Thirteen of the proponents who have received NCGS loans, which is the highest, have permanent addresses in Paro.

However, the finance minister defended the allocation of projects, saying that approved based on the feasibility of the businesses and their potential to increase exports, substitute imports, create jobs, and promote ICT and innovation.

“As I’m the chairperson of NCGS committee, it’s natural for some people to have doubts about why many of the projects are based in Paro, which is my dzongkhag (district). The project is only nine months old and we have been transparent on it,” he was quoted as saying by Kuensel.

Other members also suggested the government should reduce interest rates for business proposals in other districts. Currently, the interest rate under the scheme is fixed at 5 percent for all proposals. 

(SAM)

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