Thukten Zangpo 

National Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) Development Bank Limited provided a loan amounting to about Nu 1.967 billion to 6, 001 beneficiaries as of January this year.

The majority of the beneficiaries are from the agriculture and livestock sectors, accounting for 69 percent of the total loans with 4,682 account holders.

The total loans disbursed in agriculture and livestock sectors were recorded at Nu 616.40 million (M) and Nu 741.01M respectively. Manufacturing and production sectors, with 730 accounts, accounted for 15.56 percent of the total loans.

The bank also provided loans to 446 beneficiaries in service sectors, 98 in entertainment, 39 with working capital, and six for seasonal export business.

Expanding the credit flow to the CSIs has been a policy priority for the government.  The government announced phase-II relief measures where the National CSI Development Bank will provide microloans up to Nu 500,000 for agriculture activities at the rate of 2 percent, and soft loans to CSIs at 4 percent interest rates for another 12 months in June 2020.

According to the Royal Monetary Authority, the National CSI Development bank’s overall non-performing loans (NPL) ratio was accounted significantly lower at 12.6 percent in June 2021 compared to 40 percent in June 2020. The highest NPL was also witnessed in the agriculture sector.

The National CSI Development Bank was started to operate as a non-deposit-taking CSI bank on February 21, 2020. Since then, its effort in providing financial access to the unreached and under-served segment of society has become a matter of great importance, particularly in the renewable natural resources and agriculture sectors.

The initiative has benefited in employment generation and helped increase local products within the country.

The CSI sector has been identified as one of the economic jewels of the nation under the Economic Development Policy 2016.

The CSIs account for about 95 percent of the total industries in Bhutan. As of June 2021, there were 20,582 active licensed CSIs in the country, generating more than 90,000 plus employment, according to the department of cottage and small industry.