More than half of its employees have left, CEO tenders resignation

BOiC: The curtain may finally be falling on the controversial government initiative, the Business Opportunity and Information Centre (BOiC).

The head office at Chubachu once teeming with employees from one end to the other and clients visiting one after another has become a quiet place.

The centre has lost more than half of its employees since the day its fate was tossed. The chief executive officer also put up his resignation recently.

Yesterday, there were only three desk officers in the hall and every other workstation was vacant. But clients kept coming.

“Every month at least four employees left the job since the announcement of closure,” an official said. With the number of clients increasing by the day, she said the remaining employees are subject to customer’s grouses every day.

“But still the service delivery has not halted, we are trying our best,” she said.

The Cabinet last November decided to close down BOiC and institute a ‘special financial agency’ as a state owned enterprise (SOE), which will continue to offer collateral free loans at four percent interest.

While BOiC has its own service conditions and salary package, once it becomes a state enterprise, SOE guidelines would be applicable.

Even with the establishment of the SOE, employees are uncertain whether they would be given preference or not. “So those who got better opportunities left,” another official said.

Economic Affairs Minister Norbu Wangchuk who is waiting to take up his new portfolio said the establishment of the SOE will take some time.

But until the SOE becomes fully operational BOiC is functioning as usual.

Finance ministry is the authority responsible for establishment and operation of SOEs. However, the finance minister could not be contacted as he is out of the country.

However, the centre has 5,173 loan applications until last month and the number is rising. Agriculture and livestock alone accounts for 4,588 applications and the remaining were for manufacturing.

Under the revolving fund I (RF-I), which covers small and cottage industries, a total of 224 projects worth Nu 403M was approved as of last month. But only Nu 181M has been disbursed for around 136 projects, mainly involving dairy, poultry and manufacturing units.

The RF-II involves non-formal rural activities with a loan ceiling of Nu 100,000. Since its operation till last month, 1,822 applications were approved which is worth Nu 165M.

Of the total approved applications, 1,178 were for agricultural activities and 541 were for dairy activities.

But funds for only 977 projects worth Nu 88M could be disbursed.

Tshering Dorji