Staff Reporter 

As per His Majesty The King’s command, people who have been laid off or placed on reduced salaries would be granted the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu to provide them with immediate financial support.

A website would be launched tomorrow, and a hotline 1188 would be established to provide information related to the Kidu.

A press release from the Prime Minister Office on Friday stated, “Besides defraying the living expenses and sustaining demand for goods and services, the Royal Kidu would also boost morale and provide assurance and hope despite the current hardships.”

The government is expected to announce the details of the Royal Kidu soon.

The Relief Kidu is one of the major initiatives covered by the Nu 30 billion National Resilience Fund that His Majesty announced recently.

Other major initiatives include the interest payment relief, fast track implementation of the 12th five-year Plan, and other fiscal and monetary interventions.

“As the introduction of timely preventive health measures in Bhutan has adversely affected businesses and livelihood of our people and caused economic difficulties, His Majesty The King has commanded that the State must provide whatever support it can to every affected citizen and community with speed, efficiency and impact,” the press release stated.

According to the press release, loan repayment has been deferred for all loans that were not in the NPL list as of February 29, 2020 by three months and waiver on interest payment for loans from April to June 2020.

The Royal Monetary Authority will soon announce the eligibility criteria to the Financial Institutions.

The government would pay 50 percent of the total interest payment and the financial institutions would bear the other 50 percent.

The government would fast-track the implementation of 12th Plan activities and wherever possible frontload the investments. Amongst others, revitalising the rural economy, and creating employment opportunities would be given particular emphasis and the focus sectors will include tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.

As a fiscal measure, the filing of corporate income tax and business income tax for the income year 2019 has been deferred up to June 30, which is intended to provide temporary cash flows for businesses to meet operational costs.

The government has also reprioritised programmes and activities of the 12th Plan to create a fiscal space amounting to Nu 3.7 billion to address immediate challenges.

Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) has been given funds to stockpile essential items and the corporation has been granted a highly concessional 5 percent working capital.

The government has also provided the budget for maintaining fuel reserves at full capacity.

Additional fiscal measures are providing an additional budget of Nu 2 billion to the health ministry to meet all health-related spending, waiver of payment of monthly rent and other charges for three months (April-June 2020) by tourism-related business entities leasing government property, and deferring payment of sales tax and customs duty on essential items for March to June 2020, to facilitate import of essential items.

The government has also given wholesalers and major retailers working capital at 5 percent interest from March 28 to procure essential commodities and ensure continuous supply to retailers across the country.

“Wholesalers will not only import the essential commodities but also purchase locally manufactured products to encourage local production,” the press release stated.

The gestation period is extended for projects under construction by three months for hotels, housing, production and manufacturing.

The government would also provide working capital at 5 percent interest to finance operational costs, especially payrolls for a period of 3 months for the tourism sector to help businesses that are struggling to retain employees and support paid leave in the context of dwindling revenues.

The National Cottage and Small Industries (CSI) Development Bank will provide loans up to Nu 500,000 at 2 percent concessional interest rate for activities in the rural and agricultural sector for a period of 3 months and working capital at 4 percent concessional interest for three months to CSIs.