A foreign currency account facility for Non-Resident Bhutanese was also launched

Currency: The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) yesterday released commemorative banknotes of Nu 1,000 denomination to celebrate the Birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey, Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.

The banknotes bear the commemorative message “Celebrating the Birth of The Gyalsey, February 5, 2016” on the obverse and the message “Birth of the Prince of Bhutan” on the reverse side.

The note bears the prefix “W” to mark the reign of the Wangchuck dynasty.

The notes measures 175mm X 60mm, with the security thread enhanced to 4mm wide rolling star window thread with clear text. The note bears the signature of governor Dasho Penjore.

The colour scheme and all other features of the commemorative banknotes are the same as the series 2008 Nu 1,000 notes. The RMA has printed 3.42 million (M) pieces of the commemorative notes through Giesecke & Devrient, a German security printing company.

The general public can acquire the commemorative banknote through exchange for equivalent value at the RMA exchange counters from September 22 until the stock lasts. The commemorative banknotes will also be legal tender along with other currency notes and therefore, will be in circulation and available through banks.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said the new notes represent Bhutan’s present and future. Lyonchoen was upbeat that he presides over a much-improved economy today as compared to that of a few years back.

A few years back, the prime minister said the economy was struggling. “Our economy is doing well today,” he said, adding that the problems such as Rupee shortage have been eased.

He said Bhutan’s GDP in 2015 was recorded at Nu 132 billion (B).

Lyonchoen also launched a scheme to provide foreign currency account facility for Non-Resident Bhutanese (NRB), who work or study overseas.

The scheme is being introduced in recognition of the significant role that inward foreign currencies can play in boosting the country’s foreign exchange reserves and promoting savings. The facility is available exclusively to NRBs to enable them to remit their earnings and savings to their personal foreign currency accounts or to their family members in Bhutan.

The RMA has developed a safe and secure web-based system called RemitBhutan (www.remitbhutan.bt) to facilitate NRBs to conveniently and safely apply for and open non-face-to-face foreign currency accounts online.

According to the RMA, the system also provides comprehensive information about sending remittances to the country while safeguarding the information  and privacy of the applicants.

Under this scheme, NRBs can open Non-Resident Bhutanese Foreign Currency (NRBFC) Account and Non-Resident Bhutanese Ngultrum (NRBN) Account. Individuals can directly remit into their NRBFC account or convert foreign currency earnings into Ngultrum in the NRBN account.

RMA governor Dasho Penjore said it was important to strengthen the confidence of people in the national currency. “RemitBhutan allows Bhutanese working and studying abroad to remit their earnings either in Ngultrum or foreign currencies,” he said.

The RMA also officially handed over the cheque for the RMA’s net surplus to finance minister Namgay Dorji in the presence of the prime minister.

The RMA has closed its books of account for the financial year 2015-16, and declared a net surplus of Nu 874M to be transferred to the government account. The amount is the highest transferred to the government till date, according to the RMA.

The net surplus was generated following adjustments of Nu 349.76M as the cost of monetary policy and after deducting operating expenses. The net surplus is an increase of 11 percent from Nu 788.68M in the financial year 2014-15.

The total operating income of the RMA for the last financial year was Nu 1.56 billion.

MB Subba