DHI companies to forgo bonus for 2020

The Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) and its companies will forgo bonus for the year 2020. The bonus amount forgone would be around Nu 380mn for the year.

DHI sent a letter to the Chairman of DHI-Owned Companies and DHI-Control Companies on February 3 this year.

The yearly bonus is based on performance of the individual companies and maximum bonus amount is up to two months’ salary.

The notification from DHI states that this is a gesture of solidarity, and DHI-board and the management is reviewing that the bonus payouts for 2020 in DHI, DHI-Owned Companies, and DHI-Control Companies should be forgone. DHI also encourages DHI-Linked Companies boards to join them in the endeavor.

An official from DHI said that the board has decided that it is in line with the solidarity move, when everyone is affected by the pandemic.

Officials mentioned that this is the first time that DHI has taken a decision on forgoing the bonus of the year.

Officials said that the bonus depends on performance of the individual companies and maximum amount would be two-month salary.

There are more than 8,000 employees under DHI and its companies.

All the CEOs of DHI companies are supporting the decision of the DHI board to forgo the bonus.

The Managing Director of the Druk Green Power Corporation, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that they will support the decision of the DHI board and its decision at this time.

“We will try to convince our employees about this decision,” said the MD, adding that it is for a good cause.

However, he said there is time to review the decision and it is not final.

DGPC would forgo bonus amount of around Nu 50mn to Nu 60mn this year for an employee strength of 1,550.

The MD said that this year as compared to previous years, they performed well and better for the DGPC.

Similarly, the CEO of Bhutan Power Corporation, Sonam Tobjey said that they will also follow suit. He said they are willing to forgo the bonus during the pandemic. The BPC would forgo bonus amount of Nu 104.2mn this year for 2,400 employees.

The CEO said that this year, the company performance is down compared to the previous year.

CEO of Thimphu TechPark limited, Dr Tshering Cigay Dorji said that 2020 has been unlike any year that the world has experienced in recent memory. Many of our fellow citizens have lost their income due to this pandemic. “We have to show solidarity and not be selfish at such times.”

“To support DHI’s decision, I feel that our employees would have the same understanding,” said the CEO.

Thimphu TechPark has around 75 employees and the bonus forgone would be around Nu 4mn. The CEO said that their company has performed quite alright financially in 2020.

CEO of Druk Air, Tandi Wangchuk said that they will support the DHI’s decision as it is the right moment to show solidarity. “Since we were adversely affected by the pandemic, we could not be eligible to get bonus also,” he said.

The DHI notification states Bhutan’s GDP was estimated to experience a negative growth of 6.8% in 2020. In the move to prevent local transmission of the disease, the lockdowns and other measures have brought the economy to a standstill, affecting thousands of citizens across all sectors.

It also states to alleviate the unprecedented economic difficulties, the Druk Gyalpo’s Releif Kidu continuous to benefit more than 35,000 people and the amount disbursed as Kidu, since April 2020, has exceeded Nu 2bn. Similarly, the cost of interest waiver and loan deferment initiatives is expected to cross Nu 10bn.

In addition, the requirement of implementing COVID safety protocols, in terms of quarantine facilities and other medical expenses is costing the exchequer in millions, while at the same time; the internal revenue is expected to reduce drastically because of the economic instability.

“As per our preliminary assessment, the groups’s contribution of taxes and dividends is also projected to be one of the lowest ever,” it states.

It states in light of the difficulty, the entire nation is facing, DHI as responsible stakeholder must rise to the occasion and support the state in every way possible.

However, the decision is not final and the respective boards will make the final decision and it’s likely that all the companies will follow suit.

Dechen Dolker from Thimphu