Thinley Namgay 

To meet the financial needs of rural communities, the Tarayaya Foundation has launched the Tarayana Micro Finance (TMF) for rural development programme in Thimphu yesterday.

Patron of Tarayana Foundation, Her Majesty the Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck launched the programme to commemorate the 40th birth anniversary of His Majesty The King.                                       

Her Majesty said, “Through the launch of this particular initiative, we strive to contribute towards fulfilling His Majesty’s vision of financial inclusion for growth and development so that all citizens live productively, and with dignity.” 

Tarayana Micro Finance was licensed under the Royal Monetary Authority as a microfinance institute. The loans for the clients will be given at an interest rate of 15 percent. 

Tarayana Foundation’s Micro Finance Officer, Kuenley Gyeltshen said that microloans will be provided in two categories- classic microfinance, and development microfinance. 

Classic microfinance is for the beneficiaries who already operate a micro-business or farming business.  Under development microfinance, TMF will provide larger loans to start an income-generating activity such as vegetable or dairy farming. 

As a partner of TMF, Bhutan Telecom had developed the B-Ngultrum financial solution to enable electronic payments even for those who do not have a bank account and smartphone. TMF customers can use the B-Ngultrum financial solution to repay loans. 

The pilot phase of the programme starts from this year in three dzongkhags-Samtse, Tsirang, and Zhemgang for 18 months. Officials said that based on the need, they had selected these dzongkhags for the pilot phase.   After the pilot phase, TMF would reach out to the rest of the dzongkhags. 

Her Majesty the Gyalyum said that the Tarayana board members decided to start an initiative on condition that thorough groundwork was undertaken first and done professionally. 

“Special attention was also to be taken to ensure that this was a development financing mechanism. Skills training and handholding services are to be provided to our clients so that together, we can ensure their prosperity in the long run. Special focus on consumer protection and adequate financial literacy training will be provided to all potential clients in the communities,” said Her Majesty the Gyalyum. 

Tarayana microfinance team had received professional advice and skills from Oliver Wyman, a global consulting firm, with its headquarter in Singapore.