… of which only 173 are currently operational on the ground

BOiC: The Business Opportunity and Information Centre (BOiC) has so far approved 998 projects amounting to more than Nu 250M (million) from the two revolving funds instituted under the economic stimulus plan.

Under its revolving fund-I (RF-I), devised to boost the production and manufacturing base in the country, 107 proposals were approved for small and cottage industry.  For the non-formal rural activities, categorised as RF-II, 891 proposals have been approved.

However, only 173 projects are operational on the ground, 46 under RF-I and 127 under RF-II.

The centre’s deputy director for business development, research and training, Tandin Wangchuk, said time consumed in implementing the project after the centre’s approval depended on the nature of the project and regulations.

For instance, the licensing authority is the department of cottage and small industry, environmental clearance is issued by National Environment Commission, and for some, the authority rests with the dzongkhag administration.

BOiC officials said they had spent most of their time on institution building, and would now divert attention to monitoring of the approved projects.

To ensure that funds availed from the centre is not diverted to activities other than proposed; the centre makes payment in phased manner based on the progress.  It also makes payment to the supplier directly instead of the proponent while purchasing  machineries and equipment.

The centre has disbursed about Nu 50M so far.  Of the allocated Nu 1.5B for RF-I, only Nu 41M has been disbursed and Nu 10M of the Nu 400M paid from the RF-II.

BOiC is required to fund about 1,500 small and cottage industry in five years time, based on the assumption that each project receives Nu 10M from the RF-I.  Likewise, it also has to finance 4,000 projects under the RF-II, if each project is given Nu 100,000.

Although the centre had only four and half months in hand last year, the deputy director said it had achieved 98 percent of the targets signed in the annual performance agreement, which was reviewed recently.

However, a majority of the project proposals that the centre received were for agriculture and livestock, representing 52 percent and 37 percent of the total applications respectively.

Applications for the manufacturing sector make up only 10 percent.  Tandin Wangchuk said the reason as to why not many applications came forward deserve a study because it is possible to domestically produce some commodities, which the country had been importing so far.

The various operational projects have managed to create about 1,571 jobs.

BOiC received a total of 2,440 project proposals in 2014.  As of March 31, this year numbers of application have increased to 3500.

Officials also said that more projects would take off soon, resulting more economic activity, and most projects in agriculture and livestock are already up and running. Few cottage and small industries are also operational.

By Tshering Dorji