More than three weeks after labour minister Ugyen Dorji announced that the government had decided to defer the loan repayment to help youth in Japan, the decision is not yet implemented.

The Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) is yet to receive the notification from the government to implement its decision according to the chief executive officer (CEO) Phub Dorji.

He said that to implement the deferment, the government should send a directive in writing asking the bank to defer the loan.

“We would implement the decision as soon as we receive the directives. A total of 678 youth have availed a loan of Nu 700,000 each.”

During the question hour at the last National Assembly and National Council session, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji informed that instead of waiving off the loan, the government decided to defer the loan repayment.

This meant that the Bhutanese currently in Japan could discontinue repaying loan. Those with bachelors’ degree graduates working and studying in Japan can continue the repayment after two years while class XII graduates could repay after four years.

In the programme, students take a loan of about Nu 700, 000 under the overseas education and skill development loan scheme to study and work in Japan.

They are given five years to repay the loan and also get six months grace period before they start the repayment.

The labour minister had then said that deferment of loan repayment was one of the best measures to help youth of all the measures the government had tried to adopt while discussing the issue in the Cabinet.

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji who is in his constituency, in a telephone interview said that the decision would not change and that the government is working with the BDBL on the modalities to implement the decision.

“We’re working on the deferment of repayment and the decision would come into effect in next two weeks if not within this month,” lyonpo assured. “They can continue repaying until the decision comes into effect.”

Few youth who have returned to Bhutan told Kuensel that the government’s decision was confusing because the bank had not implemented the decision. Some of them decided not to repay as soon as they heard the decision on the deferment while few repay whenever they manage to get cash.

Ngawang Tobgay, the lawyer of the parents’ of youth in Japan said that as soon as the government announced about the decision, the committee asked the parents and youth not to pay the loan.

“We already met the minister and were informed that interest won’t be charged if they don’t pay, so they’re not repaying the loan as of now. But the government should have given the notification to the bank by now since it’s confusing the youth and parents.”

Yangchen C Rinzin