By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 16: The future of Gang-Jong Development Finance Private Ltd. under the Central Tibetan Administration’s Finance Dept. became a hotly debated issue during the ongoing session of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. Sikyong (President) Penpa Tsering during the session on Wednesday said that he only sees “a cliff ahead” when it comes the project with regards to its limited funds, legal barriers in receiving funds among others.
“I have clearly told the share holders that we cannot guarantee the return of even their base investment in a few years as thing stand now. I do not have the courage to ask the others to jump when I can see a cliff ahead. I will put effort but only if there is hope,” the President said while fending off queries from MPs who questioned the resolve of the Kashag in continuing a project started by his predecessor.
A legislator questioned whether the move is politically motivated while another asked if he lacked determination to carry forth an initiative that may bear dividend in the long run.
Tsering said that 480 lakh INR has already been spent out of the 760 lakh INR capital of Gang-Jong Finance in fees for consultants, operational expenses and remuneration of its employees among others. The funds procured from the US government amounting to some 2500 lakh INR cannot be transferred into Gang-Jong’s account due to legal restrictions, the President further said.
The president proposed a parliamentary committee to carry out a probe on the matter and provide direction for his administration. “The Kashag (Cabinet) will proceed with whatever instruction the parliamentary probe provides whether it is carry on with the project or dissolve it, he said.
Gang-Jong Finance’s objective since 2017, to create a Tibetan banking system for the financial sustainability and self-reliance of Tibetans in exile, many say, is well intentioned and ambitious but is fraught with technical obstacles and unclear road-map.
Despite obtaining a license for NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the company does not have an operational channel to receive funds from major contributors such as the US government and is a long way off the mark to raise 200 crore INR, the minimum capital mandated by RBI to begin operating as a bank.