Thukten Zangpo 

With 32 more projects approved on April 21 this year, National Credit Guarantee Scheme (NCGS) has supported 219 projects so far.

Except for Gasa and Trashiyangtse dzongkhags, the projects are in 18 dzongkhags.

The total loan approved was recorded at 908.8 million disbursed by the Bank of Bhutan, Bhutan Development Bank Limited, and the National Cottage and Small Industry Bank Limited.

Officials claimed 114 projects were sanctioned for the production and manufacturing sector, the highest loan availed, followed by 55 projects for services and 50 for agriculture and livestock.

NCGS’s director, Sonam Penjor, said the production and manufacturing sector is needed to have maximum stimulation in the economy while not ignoring the services sector for economic recovery.

He said the sector creates jobs and substitutes imports in the process of producing the products although production is at a small scale.

For loan approval in agriculture and livestock sectors, Sonam Penjor said that the NCGS is quite careful since agriculture faces topographical challenges and the government has national organic flagship programme and cottage and small industry flagship programme for the sectors. “We do not want to overlap and duplicate.”

He, however, said the production and manufacturing sectors are facing challenges since Bhutanese prefer to buy from India since there is no protective mechanism.

Sonam Penjor also said Bhutanese products have good quality and have potential for export. “The lack of certification of products holds it back.”

He said the service sector, especially entertainment, has lots of scopes given that there is stronger internet bandwidth.

NCGS was launched in October 2020 as a countercyclical measure, mainly to trigger investments and stimulate economic activities during the unprecedented times of Covid-19.

The NCGS intends to support aspiring entrepreneurs and their development, promote domestic production and services that will enable value addition, creation of new jobs, and boost economic activities.