To enhance the capacity of members of the Priority Sector Lending (PSL) committees, a workshop was organised by the Royal Monetary Authority from May 21 to 24 in Thimphu.

The workshop was a follow-up of the dzongdag’s conference that was conducted in January this year.

Royal Civil Service Commission’s chairman, Dasho Karma Tshiteem, said that the Cabinet is discussing local governance common framework. “This will ensure that all local governments, dzongkhags, thromdes have a standardised organogram including economic development sector,” he said. “This is to support the re-orientation of the role of dzongkhags from one that is primarily looked at law and order, and social development to now encompassing economic development.”

He added that this could help flourish entrepreneurial activities in the  dzongkhags. “We need initiatives like PSL to address economic diversification and unemployment.”

He said that inadequacies in implementation occur either due to skills gap or a mindset gap. “Skills gap will be addressed by the training. However, the mindset gap is going to make the difference.”

About 41 participants attended the workshop that included sensitising participants on PSL guidelines and SOP, managing the operational aspects, enhancing collaboration efforts, sharing of field challenges and networking, enhancing technical capacity of developing business plans, and handling projects.

The workshop also highlighted entrepreneurship developments, data reporting and management.

Royal Monetary Authority’s governor, Dasho Penjore, said that dealing with people is important and that the true role of civil servants was to transform lives. “ This is to improve our economy, generate employment opportunities, and increase local production.”

Tsirang’s agriculture officer, Dorji Gyeltshen, said that not much of awareness could be created among people as it coincided with elections. “While filling details, loans below Nu 500,000 didn’t require anything. So, we just took the applicant’s Credit Information Bureau (CIB), ID card, NOC, and technical feasibilities report from concerned agencies. However, when we went to banks, we learnt that areas of expenditure were not specified and that areas of expenditure were important for loans to be released phase-wise.”

He said that CIB generation fee was not uniform.

A pariticipant from Bumthang, Tshering Penjor, said that when working for clients, collective responsibility is important. “We shouldn’t take it as an additional responsibility but as an opportunity to contribute to solving economic diversification and unemployment.”

Between January and March this year, seven dzongkhags reviewed 92 PSL applications. Of the 67 projects that dzongkhags approved, 27 projects secured loans.

In April, banks received 17 new applications, of which six were able to get loans.

Some of the reasons for PSL loans getting disapproved are viability of the project, unclear reports, and incomplete documents, among others.

Samtse’s finance officer, Leki Dema, said that continuous monitoring was also important after loans were disbursed. “We used to think that insurance was an expenditure. However, from the workshop, we learnt that it is something that would enhance investment towards supporting us and stabilise our financial aspect when unexpected incidents or difficulties arise.”

She said that there was a coordination gap between dzongkhags and financial institutions.

G2C portal for PSL will be launched soon, which will reflect the PSL application status. It is expected to address coordination issues among stakeholders.

Rinchen Zangmo