The authority also generated a surplus of Nu 788M

Central Bank: The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) will open two Indian Rupee  (INR) counters in Thimphu and Phuentsholing on January 12 to cater to the need of Bhutanese pilgrims visiting India.

Although the limit on INR is not yet fixed, the two counters will be injected with INR 200M (million) a month. This facility is solely intended for pilgrims visiting holy sites in India such as Bodh Gaya.

Meeting the officials and employees of RMA yesterday, Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay, said this is also an attempt to re-emphasize the significances of the Ngultrum and INR parity as a national policy.

This, he said would address the Ngultrum and INR imbalances at the retail transactions points across the borders.

Lyonchoen said it is not fair for our people to pay Nu 108 for the actual cost of Nu 100 in buying goods from the border town of Jaigaon. “That is why we are opening a INR counter in Phuentsholing.”

RMA officials said that reopening of INR centres at the RMA premises in Thimphu and Phuentsholing were to complement the existing counter services offered by the banks and make INR available for all legitimate payments in India.

The INR counter in the capital will be maintained with the Central Bank while the counter in Phuentsholing will be set in the Bank of Bhutan premises.

The five commercial banks will continue their usual service of remitting and exchanging INR. Each bank was reportedly supplied with INR 50M monthly to make it available for Bhutanese.

Meanwhile, in presence of the Prime Minister and the board members, the RMA handed over a cheque of Nu 788M on account of surplus generated in the last fiscal year.

The surplus generation is basically the profit it generated. In accordance with the RMA Act, the RMA can allocate 50 percent of the profit for distribution. The remaining shall be paid to the government at the end of each financial year.

The surplus was generated because of the Central Bank was able to accumulate more reserve last year.

The reserves swelled because of the timely proceeds from aid and grants for the 11th Plan, the size of which itself is huge compared to the last Plan.

Further, with no commercial borrowings, the country did not have to make payments neither on interest nor on principal.

The prudent monetary regulation within the Central Bank is also attributed for the reasonable size of reserve.

Lyonchoen said that the surplus is 250 percent more than surplus last handed over. “It is a huge money,” he said. “It is a testimony of your hard work,” he said to the RMA employees.

Last year the Central Bank could not generate any surplus as the central bank incurred loss due to commercial borrowings made to ease Rupee shortage.

While the convertible currency reserve today stands at USD 836M, the rupee reserve was recorded at INR 15B. Lyonchoen said the total reserve accumulation of USD1.67B is a record in the country’s history.

Rinzin Wangchuk