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A bureaucratic gridlock?

Stories of hardships facing the Bhutanese youth in Japan who went to that country under earn and learn programme remain entangled in uncertainties and renewed debates. While the government has announced that it has arranged with Bhutan Development Bank Ltd. to extend loan repayment time for the youth, the bank has not been able to do so because it has not received anything concrete and clear-cut from the government yet to set the process in train. And this is not helping ease the problems that some of the youth and their parents are going through.

A new problem that has surfaced concerning the loan repayment issue is that the bank will have to sign a new agreement with its clients. But the youth are in Japan and cannot come to Bhutan to sign agreement of deferment in person.  What this means is the loan deferment arrangement with the bank will not be easy and could take time. At the recent press conference in Thimphu, prime minister said that the issue was being discussed. The only option, he said, was to send an official with new agreements to Japan because not all the 800 Bhutanese youth would be able to come to the bank in Bhutan to sign the loan deferment agreement.

While it looks like a viable option, the bank may have its own rules on whether such agreements can be signed with clients outside of the bank. Logically, though, there should not be a problem. The bank can have the youth sign the documents and send to the bank from Japan. Parents and guarantors can facilitate the arrangement process. The problem is not intractable really, but the failure of all the parties to come together to expedite the process is unnecessarily prolonging and complicating the whole process.

It is upon the government that has promised the youth extension of loan repayment time to stand by its word. Worse would be for the government to buy time with excuses and forget the problem altogether.

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