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SAARC Development Fund Disburses $13mn For Purchase of Drukair ATR 42-600

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SAARC Development Fund Disburses $13mn For Purchase of Drukair ATR 42-600

The SAARC Development Fund (SDF) disbursed loan amount USD 13 million to Drukair Corporation Limited for the purchase of Drukair ATR aircraft.

This is following the agreement signed between the Ministry of Finance, Royal Government of Bhutan, SDF and Drukair on 13 August 2019. Documents were signed by the Finance Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, CEO of SAARC Development Fund Dr Sunil Motiwal and CEO of Drukair Corporation Limited Tandi Wangchuk.

“SDF financing would help Drukair Corporation Limited extend aviation connectivity with Bangladesh, India and Nepal and thus, providing economic connectivity and regional integration,” said CEO of SAARC Development Fund, Dr Sunil Motiwal.

Bhutan attracts more than 254,704 regional and international tourists in a year and the ATR Financing will help in further increasing these numbers.  Trade & Economics, Transportation, Tourism are all the focus areas under the Economic & Infrastructure Windows of SDF and this project fulfills SDF’s mandate of Regional Integration and Collaboration through Project Financing.

The purchase of aircraft project for Drukair Corporation Limited in Bhutan was approved by the 30th SDF Board of Directors meeting in December 2018.

“The project would not only help Bhutan promote its tourism sector but also ensure greater connectivity to achieve economic development in the region. Thereby, promoting the welfare and prosperity of the people in SAARC region,” said Dr Motiwal. It also benefits in the form of Trade Facilitation and Tourism Development for Bhutan.

 The SAARC Development Fund, since its inception in April 2010 by the 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 Bhutan.

Currently, SDF is implementing 87 projects (13 areas) under the Social window with fund commitment of USD 74.49 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. The cumulative fund commitment under the three funding windows including MSME Program stands at USD 197.4 million. Further, more than 10 bankable projects are also under active consideration of SDF to co-finance in SAARC Member States. 

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.

The SAARC Development Fund’s Social Window has supported a total of 10 projects in Bhutan worth USD 8.48 million. 7 out the 10 project were successfully completed.


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