Bhutanese living, working or studying abroad can now remit their earnings to their personal foreign currency accounts or that of their family members in Bhutan.
The central bank, Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), launched Foreign Currency Account facility for Non-Resident Bhutanese (NRB) on Thursday. This facility would allow Non-Resident Bhutanese (NRB) to open NRB Foreign Currency Account and Non-Resident Bhutanese Ngultrum Account.
The central bank has developed a web-based system known as RemitBhutan to facilitate easy and safe remittance of either ngultrum or foreign currencies.
Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said RemitBhutan would encourage Bhutanese people to save money and inculcate saving culture. “We are hopeful that many Bhutanese who stay abroad will use RemitBhutan to save in USD, Indian currency, or Bhutanese currency,” said Lyonchhen, adding that this would also help increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
The RMA Governor, Dasho Penjore, said to encourage inward remittance RemitBhutan will allow NRBs to remit their savings in foreign currency or ngultrums to their accounts in Bhutan. “The system facilitates NRBs to conveniently and safely apply for and open non-face-to-face foreign currency account online,” said the Governor.
The scheme is introduced in recognition of the significant role that inward foreign currency remittances plays in boosting the country’s foreign exchange reserves and in promoting savings, according to the RMA.
RMA Governor Dasho Penjore said it is important to maintain the exchange rate parity and strengthen the confidence of the public in the national currency.
An economist this paper talked to said a large number of Bhutanese are going abroad, mostly to Australia, the United States and now increasingly to the middle east, thanks to the government’s overseas employment program. “This new facility would be of immense help to them. Not just that, transactions made through a formal remittance system would also provide a clear picture of the total amount of remittance and its contributions to the economy,” he said.
This facility is also expected to streamline remittances from overseas. To avoid high wire charges and fees, many Bhutanese working and studying abroad are said to bring foreign currency in hard cash.
During the launch, two Bhutanese in Australia and Kuwait who opened the account had a skype conversation with the Prime Minister.
Pema Y Rinzin who works in Kuwait in the Embassy of Bhutan said this facility would help them to remit their income to their family back home and also encourage them to save more.
Kesang Yuden, currently studying in Australia, said it would facilitate them to save money and remit their earnings to their family.
According to RMA, from September 6 to September 22, it received 33 applications for opening of foreign accounts online. Four were rejected due to incomplete information. NRBs in Kuwait, Australia, Central African Republic, America, Qatar, Sudan and Israel had applied.
Meanwhile, RMA closed its books of account for the financial year 2015-16 and declared a net surplus of Nu 874mn. The total operating income of the RMA for the financial year 2015-16 was Nu 1,558.92mn. The cheque of net surplus was officially handed over to finance minister Namgay Dorji.