Bhutan’s PM visits SDF to discuss further collaboration, investment opportunities

- A Monitor Desk Report 03 Aug, 2019 | 3268 Views|-+
Dhaka: Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan visited the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) Secretariat to discuss strengthening of collaboration with SDF by exploring more investment opportunities. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary and officials from the Prime Minister’s Office.

SDF officials led by Dr Sunil Motiwal, Chief Executive Officer briefed the Prime Minister on the current activities, achievements and future action plans of SDF. Lyonchhen was presented on the ongoing projects of SDF in Bhutan under its Social, Economic and Infrastructure Windows.

An overview of the upcoming pipelines projects was also presented along with SDF’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) funding scheme in all SAARC Member States.

The SAARC Development Fund, since its inception in April 2010 by heads of the eight SAARC Member States, is mandated to build regional integration and economic cooperation through project funding in all the eight SAARC member states – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Secretariat is based in Thimphu, capital of Bhutan.

Dr Sunil Motiwal, CEO said that Bhutan is one of the Member States that has derived maximum benefits from SDF’s various funding schemes. SDF has committed a total of USD 31.48 million for ongoing and future projects in Bhutan. Of the total, SDF has funded over 10 projects in Bhutan worth USD 8.48 million under its Social Window as grants, USD 13 million under the Economic Window for purchase of Druk Air ATR aircraft and allocated USD 10 million under Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) funding scheme of SDF.

Projects, under the Social Window, range from newborn and maternal health, women empowerment, violence against children, agriculture to setting up of community e-centres, supporting thousands of home-based workers and providing livelihood enhancement of small scale farmers. So far, 7 of the 10 projects have been successfully closed benefiting over thousands of children, women and men in Bhutan. Five more projects are under active consideration for co-financing along with UN and International Agencies.

During the meeting, Lyonchhen said that such meetings open the door for further discussion and collaboration. He said that he is keen to explore many priority areas of the government especially the agriculture-oriented Cottage and Small Industry (CSI). He said, “I can see many linkages including the CSI agriculture enterprises where Royal Government of Bhutan can work together with SDF.”

SDF has an authorised capital of USD 1.5 Billion and total capital base of USD 511.52 Million. Currently SDF is implementing 12 projects under the Social window with fund commitment of USD 73.74 million and two more projects are approved in principle in social sector, 5 projects under the Economic and Infrastructure windows (including 2 in-principle approved projects) with a fund commitment of USD 73 million and MSME Program with fund allocation of USD 50 million in SAARC Member States.

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