To ensure consistent, transparent, accountable and efficient delivery of payment of bills, the Thimphu thromde started a one-window bill payment system about two months ago.

The system is applicable to three categories – goods with IT equipment, construction works, and other bills such as for stationeries and other materials procured by the thromde.

This means, processing bills for goods with IT equipment such as laptops, printers, desktops, projectors and xerox machines would take seven days. Processing advance for construction works would take 11 days, 16 days for securing advance, 21 days for running bills and a month to process the final bills.

Thimphu thromde’s administrative officer, Dorji Phurpa, said that earlier, suppliers had to wait for months to get paid for their bills. “In extreme cases, the contractors and suppliers had to go from pillar to post to make their claims so that it could be processed on time.”

With the introduction of the system, contractors don’t have to come time and again to follow up on the bills, thromde’s chief administrative officer, Sonam Dorjee, said during a meeting with the contractors earlier this week.

A deadline is now given to the contractors. “They know when they will receive the cheque reducing the interface among suppliers and clients and bringing about transparency and accountability,” Dorji Phurpa said.

The essence of the system is that the supplier has to visit only a single point of contact for submission of bills and receiving of payments, he said.

To process their bills for goods without IT equipment, contractors and suppliers have to submit five documents such as supply order and requisition form. Goods with IT equipment require six documents that comprise of bills or invoice and good issue note. A total of 10 documents including work order, bills or invoices, running bills and final bills have to be submitted along with bills pertaining to constructions works.

Dorji Phurpa said that if a contractor does not get the payment on the given date, he or she can inquire with the thromde on the delay. “With the system we can hold the concerned department accountable if a bill is lost or is not processed within the deadline.”

Thimphu thromde gets about four bills a day and clears about six a day.

Dorji Phurpa said that about 50 percent of the engineers and the contractors are aware about the one window bill payment system.

The administrative officer is also making them aware of the system as and when they come to collect the bills. He said that so far, the contractors have given positive feedback on the system. “We are currently in the process of making the contractors aware about the system, getting their feedback and improving it.”

He said that if the system proves successful, thromde would introduce an online version of the system.

Dechen Tshering and  Pema Wangmo