English | Dzongkha Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Development partners have committed Nu 63.2bn at the 14 RTM says FM

Sonam Pem & Pema Tshewang, Thimphu
Jun 12, 2019

The Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said the development partners have committed Nu 63.2bn as grants and support during the14th Roundtable Meeting (RTM) held in March this year. He was responding to the Nganglam member of Parliament(MP) Choida Jamtsho who questioned on the grants and loans promised during the RTM in the National Assembly yesterday.

Foreign Minister also shared that the government received more than what was expected. He said from the Nu 63bn, India has committed Nu 45bn and a project worth Nu 21bn was approved by the Government of India in April this year.

Similarly, the country will receive Nu 8.7bn from the bilateral agencies like the European Union (EU), Japan, Austria and Korea among others. EU gave a cheque of 9.5 M Euros to Bhutan and promised to provide further support. From the multilateral agencies, the government received Nu 5.5bn and from financial institutions like IFAD, World Bank and ADB, the government received Nu 5.5bn.

The Nganglam MP further questioned if the support of Nu 5.5bn from the financial institutions was on grant or loan.

“From the Asian Development Bank (ADB), we are getting Nu 417.5 M as a grant. Similarly, they provided around Nu 400 M as a concessional borrowing. Of the 11M from IFAD, 10 M is as concessional borrowing and the rest is a grant. For the health ministry, the ADB has also committed 20 M as a grant. The majority of the support is in the form of a grant but amount between 11 to 12 M is on loan. Similarly, financial institutions from other countries like European Investment Bank have shown interest to offer loan at a concessional rate, while some of them have said that we don’t have to pay interest for five years, some offered us a loan at an interest of one per cent. Given this,  we haven’t yet decided,” Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said.

He said while many might raise concerns on the government seeking loans, he promised the house that the government will take loans at a minimal rate.

“As our country graduates from a least developed country to a developing country and if all is to go well and be self-sufficient in the 13th FYP, it’s important that we look for funds to strengthen our economy. That’s why many might have concerns when we seek for loans but we will make sure we take loans at a very minimal rate or the amount we will able to repay back. And we promise that.”

In addition to the Nu 45bn commitment, India has committed around Nu 7 to 8bn as a grant for the construction of a tertiary hospital as pledged by the government. Similarly, the ministry is working with financial institutions abroad to start the allowance program to accelerate mother and child care.

Dr Tandi Dorji also informed the house that the EU has offered an invitation to the Prime Minister for a visit soon and will inform the house on the additional grant the government receives.

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