The approval was granted at the inauguration of a regional office in Trashigang

Business: Business Opportunity and Information Center (BOiC) approved 149 project in the six eastern dzongkhags during the inauguration of its regional office in Trashigang yesterday.

BOiC received about 500 project proposals from the six eastern dzongkhags alone.  While 72 projects were from Trashiyangtse, 22 were from Lhuentse, 21 from Mongar, four from Samdrupjongkhar and three from Pemagatshel.

Chief executive officer of BOiC, Karma Tshering, said their office in Thimphu was overwhelmed with applications from interested proponents, especially from the eastern part of the country.

“The applicants are facing difficulties trying to access our services. Therefore, to ease such constrains, we’ve decided to take our services to Trashigang to cater to the six eastern dzongkhags,” he said.

The CEO said that BOiC received over 2,000 project proposals from people across the nation.  About half the  proposals were related to agriculture, while 30.5 percent of the applicants proposed for livestock projects.  17 percent were related to manufacturing, and the rest were from the service sector, which BOiC doesn’t support.

Of the total projects approved under BOiC, 70.8 percent is in agriculture, 18 percent in dairy, 7.5 percent in poultry, one percent in piggery, 0.2 percent in fishery and two percent in manufacturing.

Region wise, 30 percent of projects were approved from the central, 28 percent from the west, 26 percent from the east and the remaining 16 percent from the south.

On the time taken for approving project proposals, the CEO said that BOiC was working with 22 employees on over 2,000 applications.  With one appraisal officer working on 115 applications, he said, it took time to revolve funds.

“The solution is either we increase the number of people but, if we do that, the project that we’ve designed for five years is going to finish in two years,” he said. “If you want to improve efficiency, then the only way is to establish regional or branch offices.”

But again, should BOiC open up branches in all 20 dzongkhags, it would cost them about Nu 500M approximately. “So we have to look at the objective, the cost and the efficiency,” the CEO said. “If we look at our targets and what we’ve achieved in the last four months time, we don’t need more employees.”

However, even after carrying out awareness programmes in all 20 dzongkhags, he added that more awareness needed to be created.

“We’d want the local government and the dzongkhag authority to support BOiC in creating awareness and providing right information to the people,” he said.  “They should help people to apply to us, so the right project is given support.”

The economic affairs minister, Norbu Wangchuk, said BOiC was established to benefit the rural communities by promoting the growth of cottage and small manufacturing and non-formal rural activities.

Although banks are in a position to provide loans, lyonpo said the need for mortgages and higher interest rates discouraged rural people from availing loans.  Through BOiC, lyonpo said the government expects to empower the rural community and provide them with business opportunities and access to funds.

“People, who received loans today, should be able to set examples to others. They must use it well and pay back on time, so the revolving fund benefits many more,” he said.

By Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang