With the address from the Prime Minister on 22nd April conveying the command of His Majesty on the continuation of the Relief Kidu for an additional period of 15 months from April 2021 for people who continue to face difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 7,374 borrowers have registered for the Interest payment support (IPS) so far.
Of the 2,965 loan accounts submitted 2,938 loan accounts said they require kidu and 27 do not require kidu according to the update from the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA).
Singye Namgyel Dorji, proprietor of RSA private limited said that they are compiling the performance of last four months and doing an assessment. If the company is sustainable he said that they will not apply for the Druk Gyalpos Relief Kidu (DGRK) but he added that his company might require the Kidu since their production is less than 40%.
“We want to be mindful that the Kidu is only for those who are absolutely in need but I have to also take into the consideration that if the situation becomes worse and if I am not able to pay salary to my employees or if I have to let go of my employees then I might have to apply for Kidu so at the moment we are assessing on how far we can sustain and that is why I didn’t immediately apply for Kidu,” he said.
He said that with the lock down in Phuentsholing the exports of materials were halted for more than a week but his business has been paying salary to his employees despite the halt in work.
Karzom Yangzom a building owner from Olakha, Thimphu said that she has availed for interest payment Kidu but not yet got confirmation if she will be granted the Kidu this time. “I have received interest payment loan before and I am positive that I will be getting the Kidu this time too,” she said.
Taking into consideration of the interest payment Kidu Karma had waived the house rent for her tenants even though her loan is not liquidated. “If I had not received Kidu before I would not have waived the house rent for my tenants. Most of my tenants are business men, few are working in hotels and few in tourism who are all affected by the COVID pandemic and so looking at the situation of their need during the pandemic I have played fair as our King has granted Kidu with such generosity,” said Karma.
Similarly, a tourist driver, Karma Dorji who has availed loan for the 3 busses for the tourists said that he is eligible for the loan as the set criteria for Interest Payment Support (IPS) but he is worried if he can get the IPS since he has to pay huge amount of interest while the income is completely deflated because of the COVID pandemic. However, he said he is thankful for the Kidu support he has received earlier and is hoping for the further support from the DGRK.
An official from the Bank of Bhutan said that those who were eligible for the first tranche of Kidu interest payment are eligible for the present IPS.
Though the eligible person will get the IPS the slight changes in this tranche is that the applicant will have to apply for IPS in the cycle of three months unlike in past where once the applicant has applied for the IPS they are eligible for the whole period.
Banks in Bhutan said that RMA has sent a draft to assist them to know if the applicant is eligible for the IPS but there are few cases where there is confusion in the eligibility criteria like a person who has availed loan from a bank before 10th of April 2020 but have switched his/her loan to the other banks after 10th April 2020, and so this is creating confusion for the bankers to assess the eligibility to verify the IPS.
The banks will be sending the information of the eligible IPS receiver to the government after 10th of July.
Meanwhile the banks are still waiting for RMA to send a clear picture of Standard Operating Procedure so that there will be no confusion in assessing the eligibility of the IPS.