RemitBhutan gets more takers
164 foreign currency accounts opened in a span of less than two months
Since the introduction of foreign currency (FC) accounts, 164 NonResident Bhutanese from 13 countries opened FC accounts with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) between 6 September and 20 October this year.
The central bank received in total 222 applications for FC accounts but 53 applications were rejected due to incomplete information.
Non-Resident Bhutanese from Kuwait, Australia, Central African Republic, America, Qatar, Malaysia, Belgium, Maldives, Netherland, Western Sahara, United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Israel have applied for FC accounts. Kuwait has the highest number of account holders with 103 followed by 27 in Qatar as of now.
Among the financial institutions, Bank of Bhutan (BoB) has the highest number of FC account holders with 124 followed by Bhutan National Bank (BNB) with 45 FC account holders.
The Director of information and technology department of RMA, Sherab Jamtsho, said as of now there is no single FC account holder in T-Bank and Druk PNB and perhaps this is because people prefer BoB and BNB to other banks.
In terms of currency, there are 154 US$ FC account holders, 13 AUD FC account holders and two EURO FC account holders.
The Director said NonResident Bhutanese have the currency option while opening the account but they can open only one currency account.
The RMA’s inward remittance rules and regulations 2016 states that foreign currency account can be opened for USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD, CAD, and INR or any other foreign currency permitted by the RMA from time to time.
The regulation also states that the authorized bank and authorized money transfer agent will maintain record of foreign exchange transactions accruing from its remittance business for a minimum period of five years.
Director Sherab Jamtsho said that people can remit money by means of money order and other acceptable international money transfer through authorized banking channels.
The proceeds of inward remittance will be paid to the beneficiary after deducting applicable commission and charges in any deposit by way of cash or cheque into the Non-Resident’s Bhutanese Ngultrum accounts that are tagged to international debit card.
The regulation also states that inward remittance exceeding US$ 5,000 or its equivalent will be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the RMA.
RemitBhutan was launched in Thimphu on 22 September. It was also launched in New York, USA, on 9 October this year by Finance Minister Namgay Dorji. Lyonpo handed over the International Debit Cards to those Non-Resident Bhutanese who had already applied online and opened the FC accounts.
Besides the ease of transfer of money from foreign countries, FC account holders will also enjoy preferential interest on deposits and full repatriation of the principal amount and these accounts can also act as security deposit to avail loans in ngultrum.