Hydro, consumer protection and investments dominate MoEA’s mid-year review

The mid-year review of the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) of the 10 ministries and an agency was held in the capital this week. The meeting was chaired by Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay and other high officials from various ministries and agencies.

Dasho Yeshey Wangdi, Secretary of the Ministry of Economic affairs presented the progress summary of APA of the ministry for the year 2017-2018. Out of the total 49 Success Indicators, 5 have been achieved with 37 on track and 7 at risks.

With the objective to diversify and promote alternative renewable energy, the Ministry was able to achieve the construction of about 970 new biogas plants, which is a 25 percent increase from the set target of 600 plants. To enhance economic and diversification, the Ministry has approved 28 medium and large domestic industries out of the set target of 20. And 5 Foreign Direct Investment have been approved which are, Wangchoa Tech Pvt. Limited, Nortak JK Pvt. Limited, TRX Bhutan Private Limited, Advantaged Outsourced Solution Private Limited, and Ninjidh Pharmaceutical Private Limited.

“The Ministry has achieved the set target of five FDIs. We still have five more months left; let’s try together to get as many more FDI companies as we can. As information to other civil servants, we have requested the Ministry to form a multi-sectoral task force who will work with relevant agencies and study the need for FDIs in particular sectors. Rather than letting the investors come to us, let us seek for investors from which our nation will be benefited, and I’ve also agreed to personally go and meet them. Anyway the five targets which could be fulfilled is a very good indication,” commended Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay.

To enhance an enabling environment a draft National IP Policy was submitted to the Cabinet on October last year. With the aim to protect consumer’s right and interest, Package Pilgrimage Regulation 2017 was also launched. “For the Protection of the consumers, this also comes as information to everyone present here that I’ve written a letter to the relevant ministries like MoEA and Ministry of Finance to study the benefits to the consumers after the reduction in the fuel prices. Once we have the detailed study, we can take the next step to ensure that benefits are actually passed to the consumers. I’m still waiting for the results,” said Lyonchhen.

The Success Indicators at risks are mainly concerned with slow progress of the hydro projects. To solve the problem caused in the Punatsangchu -I  due to numerous geological surprises and other issues like revision of dam excavation quantity from 5.8 MCM to 6.034 MCM, suspension of work from 3rd May 2017 to 30th September 2017 due to distress in downstream of dam area, change in design of Hoisting System of Draft Tube Gates for powerhouse, and due to delay in other E&M works, the Ministry has suggested the target revision to be brought down from the set target of 86 percent to 85 percent.

The target revision for Punatsangchu-II was proposed from 81 percent to 77 percent due to delay in concreting after the flooding of dam pit twice, and delay in the restoration of underground powerhouse complex.

Lyonchhen offered that instead of proposing to bring down the earlier targets for the two projects, it would be wise to keep as it is. “If the cause of the delay is due to natural disaster or geological surprises, let’s resolve that the National Technical Committee should take such points into consideration during future evaluations.”

The target revision for Nikachu Hydro Power Project was proposed from 18 percent to 10 percent as the progress of the project has been hampered due to liquidity issue of the contractor which has caused delay in Dam, HRT, and powerhouse complexes, leading to many other systematic issues. Moreover, the roads were also hampered by the monsoon, which led to the further delay in the works.

The target revision for Kholongchu Project was proposed from 12 percent to 8 percent due to delay in signing the Concession Agreement after the introduction of Cross Border Trading of Electricity regulations resulting in the delay of awarding the works.

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