During the question-hour session of the National Assembly on May 26, Economic Affairs Minister, Norbu Wangchuk, said the Business Opportunity and Information Centre (BOiC), within its nine months of operation, has been beneficial to the people and the economy.
He said the BOiC goal is to establish cottage and small industries and non-formal sector rural activities.
Member of Parliament (MP) of Panbang, Dorji Wangdi, asked the Economic Affair Minister to give an update on the status of implementation of the schemes, including the total numbers of applications received and approved, and loans disbursed in the various categories of loan schemes.
He said that the whole objective of establishing BOiC was to stimulate economic growth. Despite serious objections from the Opposition and National Council, on the legality of establishment of the centre, the government had gone ahead with the plan.
MP Dorji Wangdi said there is a flood of complaints from people, especially from the people who have not yet received the loan after going through agonizing inconveniencies to apply for the loans.
Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that the MPs have agreed to establish the BOiC as the objective of the centre is to provide small businesses with loans from financial institutions on a low interest rate of 4 percent, and without having to put in a mortgage.
BOiC aims to establish about 1500 small and cottage industries and 4000 non-formal rural activities within five years.
“BOiC will help to generate about 7000 employment opportunities to unemployed youth in the country,” Lyonpo said.
He said judging by the performance rate of BOiC within the 9 months since operation, it is on track to fulfilling its objectives.
He informed the House that BOiC has received about 3982 applications, of which 1194 applications were approved and 2003 applications are being processed.
He said that under Revolving Fund I, cottage and small industries, 47 dairy projects were approved, and other projects, like 27 poultry, 1 fishery, 12 piggeries, 14 agriculture, 16 construction are approved as well. Under Revolving Fund II, 113 for dairy, 45 poultry, 805 for agriculture and 6 for construction are approved.
He said Mongar tops the list with most projects approved under BOiC with 205 projects followed by Bumthang with 196 projects.
Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk informed the House that the ministry received positive feedback from about 1000 people that received loans from BOiC.
Opposition Leader, Dr Pema Gyamtsho, said that although Bumthang has the second highest approved projects, however, during DYT meetings, gups informed that only 3 projects were approved. He asked for clarification on the 196 projects was approved in Bumthang.
Economic Affairs Minister said the names of the people that have received the loans are printed in the BOIC’s annual report. He further added, “I don’t know whether these people are supporters of DPT or PDP.” He said that BOiC has a clear fund system and guidelines for loan seekers.