During the question-answers session in the National Assembly on Friday, the Member of Parliament (MP) from Chhumig- Ura Constituency, Karma Wangchuk, asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) to share with the House how the government will use the Endowment Fund to secure crops and livestock for the people.
The Agriculture Minister responded to the question by stating that during the first government’s tenure, there had been a fund for which individuals had to report to the local government, which in turn notified the MoAF, which in turn submitted to the Ministry of Finance. However, some recipients did not receive the fund, and those who did, had to wait two to three years to get it.
Lyonpo added that during the second government’s term, the government allotted and disbursed Nu 300,000 to each gewog. However, the budget was used to top up for other development activities such as constructing farm roads and monasteries in the gewogs, so the current government tried to make it possible by informing them if there is any leftover fund so that the government could top it up. However, it could not happen because the amount from some gewogs was insufficient.
The ministry collected Nu 91 million from the park in Lamperi and Motithang Takin Preserve.
“If we need to offer people endowment funds in a satisfactory manner, the budget requirement with interest will be Nu 1.7 billion, as previously informed in the Parliament, and if it has to be Nu 1.7 bn, the government will have to top it up or from donors otherwise. The government planned to give, but the economy of the country was affected by COVID 19, and the government was unable to provide,’ Lyonpo said.
Lyonpo added that when consulted about the Endowment Fund, donors, international partners and countries with good ties show little interest and claim it is not a long-term approach.
“We have a budget of Nu 91 mn for the Endowment Fund, but we are unable provide the interest, so we can’t utilize it. Natural catastrophes and livestock mortality led individuals receiving Kidu from His Majesty till date like in the past, which the government was unable to fulfill through endowment funds till date,” Lyonpo added.
Lyonpo further added, “Experts and international partners have recommended to provide insurance rather than Endowment Fund, and we have had discussions with insurance companies in the country regarding it. The government’s proposal for USD 4.9 million from the Adaptation Fund Board has been approved.”
According to Lyonpo, among those afflicted by the tiger are nine gewogs, and six of those nine have each been given a Nu 1 million investment to put into any profitable project for the people.
Lyonpo stressed that the Endowment Fund cannot be disbursed till the amount reaches Nu 1.7 bn.