Hy­dropower debt in­creases three-fold

How­ever, the PM re­as­sured that this would be liq­ui­dated through the com­mis­sion­ing of on­go­ing hy­dropower projects

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley

The coun­try’s hy­dropower project debt has in­creased to Nu 132.9bn in the 12th Plan. In the 10th Plan, the hy­dropower debt was just Nu 54mn.

How­ever, Ly­onch­hen Dasho Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay, talk­ing to the pub­lic of Ch­hukha Dzongkhag, said the debt which has tripled is wor­ri­some but not a great con­cern since it will be liq­ui­dated once all the on­go­ing hy­dropower projects are com­mis­sioned.

He said that non-hy­dropower debt need to be re­paid through other means, while hy­dropower debt can be self-liq­ui­dated once all the on­go­ing hy­dropower projects are com­plete and com­mis­sioned.

Al­ready, Da­gachhu hy­dropower plant has been com­mis­sioned which means that the project has started re­pay­ing the loans. The 126MW Da­gachhu hy­dropower plant was com­mis­sioned

in 2015. Like­wise, Pu­natshangchhu II and I are ex­pected to be com­plete by 2021 and 2023 re­spec­tively.

Among the five on­go­ing hy­dropower projects, three are in the ad­vanced stages of de­vel­op­ment. Mangdechhu hy­dro­elec­tric project is ex­pected to be com­plete by 2018. Pu­natshangchhu-I and II are in the ad­vanced stages of com­ple­tion and Kho­longchhu project and Nikachhu hy­dropower project were started a few years back. Th­ese multi-bil­lion projects are ex­pected to re­pay the loans.

More than 70% of the power gen­er­ated through a to­tal of 1,614 MW projects is ex­ported to In­dia earn­ing al­most INR 13 to 14bn as rev­enue.

On­go­ing mega projects which have taken up most of the hy­dropower loans are ex­pected to earn Nu 40bn an­nu­ally once com­mis­sioned.

Also, Ly­onch­hen said that all the projects which are im­ple­mented through loans are far­ing well with no waste of re­sources. Hy­dropower projects like Ch­hukha hy­dropower plant and Kurichhu hy­dropower plant con­structed with loans have com­pleted pay­ing their debts. The debt for Tala hy­dropower plant will be liq­ui­dated this year. “We have set a trend in re­pay­ing the debts and we will be do­ing so with the rest of the power sup­ply. There is no rea­son to panic,” he said, adding that non-hy­dropower debt has fallen in the 11th Plan which is good news.

The coun­try availed Nu 38.2bn non-hy­dropower loan in the 11th Plan.

Mean­while, the PM said that the govern­ment’s an­nual rev­enue has in­creased from the 10th to 11th Plan by more than Nu 1bn. By the end of the 10th Plan the an­nual govern­ment rev­enue stood at Nu 5.15bn, which in­creased to Nu 6.5bn by the end of the 11th Plan.

The govern­ment also suc­ceeded in increasing the power tar­iff of the Chukhha power plant to In­dia from Nu 2 per unit to Nu 2.25 in 2014. Now, the tar­iff is in­creased to Nu 2.55 per unit.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the hy­dropower projects have con­trib­uted to em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion in the coun­try. Cur­rently, the hy­dropower sec­tor em­ploys around 12,700 Bhutanese.

The PM said that the govern­ment has put in place a pub­lic debt pol­icy dis­al­low­ing the govern­ment more than 35% non-hy­dro debts and loan re­pay­ment of hy­dro debts should not be more than 40% of hy­dro rev­enue.

More­over, the govern­ment has paid off most Ru­pee loans taken for short term con­sump­tion. “We are in a good sit­u­a­tion but our hy­dro debts had gone up be­cause we are in the midst of build­ing five hy­dro power projects,” he said.

Ly­onch­hen graced the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) Fi­nal Re­port and 12th FYP sen­si­ti­za­tion for Ch­hukha Dzongkhag this week at Gedu Col­lege of Busi­ness Stud­ies.

At the meet­ing, Ch­hukha Dzongda Min­jur Dorji re­ported that of the to­tal 54 Key Per­for­mance In­di­ca­tors (KPIs), Chukhha has achieved 45 KPIs; seven KPIs are on track and two at risk.

Ly­onch­hen con­grat­u­lated Ch­hukha for its re­mark­able achieve­ments in the 11th Plan. In the sphere of farm roads, Ch­hukha has 89 new farm­lands with length stretch­ing to 503 km. Road main­te­nance was also part of the 11th Plan for Ch­hukha and 358.74 km of road stretch were clipped to main­te­nance works.

Apart from speak­ing on the state of coun­try in terms of fi­nance, ed­u­ca­tion and health, Ly­onch­hen spoke on the five jewels in the coun­try; namely hy­dropower, tourism, cot­tage and small in­dus­tries, min­ing and agri­cul­ture. He ex­plained that th­ese spheres have de­picted tremen­dous growth in the 11th Plan.

Ly­onch­hen added that the in­sti­tu­tion of An­nual Per­for­mance Agree­ment at dif­fer­ent lev­els of min­istries and Dzongkhag could mea­sure the achieve­ment an­nu­ally and re­port to the govern­ment ob­jec­tively.

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