Dechen Dolkar

An average of three employees a month have been resigning from the Build Bhutan Project (BBP).

According to the records with the National Pension and Provident Fund (NPPF), around 60 members have withdrawn from the BBP after the end of their contract term.

According to the BBP guidelines, the project will contribute 10 percent of an employee’s basic salary to the provident fund (PF) and five percent will be contributed for the first year from the employees’ side. After that, employees and employers will contribute a minimum of 10 percent PF. Government tops up 15% of the basic salary that the employers have to pay.

The basic salary of the BBP employees ranges from Nu 12,000 a month for the unskilled category and Nu 15,000 to Nu 18,000 for the skilled category. Engineers are paid Nu 20,000 per month.

The NPPF has a payout total PF of approximately Nu 233,000 so far.

“Some of the prominent issues while enrolling the members of the BBP is that the required information in the enrolment form is not filled completely,” an NPPF official said.

The chief programme officer under employment services division under the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR), Chimi Rinzin, said that the reason for withdrawal from the PF scheme is that employees are heading back overseas for better opportunities.

He said that some employees come with a resignation letter from the company after a one-year contract to claim PF even though they are still working.

“Employers provide the letter since they don’t have to deposit PF. It is a win-win situation for both, “he said.

The employee will have to engage in the construction sector for at least a year to withdraw the entire PF.

“So far, around 80 to 90 employees have resigned from the BBP,” the chief programme officer said.

He said that if an employee wanted to withdraw within a year, they would only get their share of the PF contribution. The BBP’s contribution of 10 percent would be put back to the project.

NPPF has enrolled around 755 BBP members to date.

According to the records with the MoLHR, 933 employees are currently with the BBP; 167 employees have completed their one-year contract.

An official said that the complaints and issues regarding the PF from the members were mostly regarding delayed refund claims, since the BBP is not able to send payment on time, delaying the refund claims of the member.

The chief program officer said that the reason for the delay was that employers were not sending the employee attendance sheets to the MoLHR on time, and details are not given correctly.

The project was initiated with a budget of Nu 1.04 billion under the economic contingency plan to address labour shortages and provide employment to those who lost jobs because of the pandemic last year.