Meet the Press: Besides exploring the possibility of a merger of Business Opportunity and information Centre (BOiC) with Bhutan Development Bank, the government is also mulling over making the Centre as a micro-financer for small industries and agriculture sector.

While the government has not taken any decision, the finance minister said other options are also being explored.

However, at the meet the press session yesterday, the government asserts that BOiC, as it stands, is not illegal.

The Prime Minister said, he made it clear to the National Council, if the institution is illegal the government will correct it but not to divulge that it is “not legal without legal arguments.”

“Because the National Council submitted an appeal to His Majesty, The King, it is our responsibility to look into it and review,” Lyonchoen said. “Although there was no legal argument proving that it is not legal, merger was one of the options,” he added.

But again, he said people were quick enough to declare that the merger was again illegal.

“Some people are bent on shooting down BOiC,” he said. Suddenly when the news about unplugging a useful instrument that buzzed around, he said people are worried.

Recently, the Bhutan Kuen-nyam Party called for the government to be held accountable for creating the Centre illegally and despite warnings provided by the party. It also questioned the recruitment and called for the government to make transparent up-to-date achievements of BOiC since its inception to avoid “passing the buck later onto BDBL”.

Members of the opposition party and the National Council also pointed out the issue of legality of the Centre even if it was merged with the development bank. They also questioned the loan modalities stating that coming under BDBL and loaning at lowered interest rates was against the Central bank’s regulations.

Lyonchoen said BOiC’s lending is not going to stop, irrespective of what form and shape the Centre may take.

Finance minister, Namgay Dorji said if the government has done something in the interest of party and the country suffered huge loss, then there is no escape from the question of accountability, as some views were expressed in the media.

But in BOiC’s case, he said Nu 310M has been disbursed as of now benefitting over 2,000 people across the country.

He assured that the decision on the BOiC would be in the best interest of the nation.

In an earlier interview with economic affairs minister, he said, the government will ensure that BOiC funds would be lent at 4 percent interest, regardless of the Centre’s fate.

Tshering Dorji