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Public Accounts Committee (PAC) presents its report to the Joint Sitting of Parliament

Posted on :05 December 2017

The Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, National Council Member from Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag, presented the Public Accounts Committee Report to the Parliament today. The report consisted of two Parts. Part I - Review of the Financial Audit Report consisting of four chapters, mainly Annual Audit Report 2016, Annual Audit Report 2015, implementation status of the resolution of the 8th Session of Second Parliament (ARR 2009-14) and status of the cases with Anti-Corruption Commission and instances of missing/death cases of officials and contractors and inaction even after court order. Part II - Review of the Performance Audit Report consisting of seven chapters mainly, performance audit report on Business Opportunity and Information Center, employment generation and promotion initiatives, Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited, School Feeding Program, Tourism Sector and implementation status of the resolutions of the 9th Session of Second Parliament.

 

The Chairperson reported that in the review report of ARR 2016 as of 30/9/2017, the unresolved irregularities reported were about Nu.159 million in 9 Ministries, Nu.50 million in 13 Dzongkhags, Nu.8 million in 15 Gewogs, Nu.64 million in 9 Autonomous Agencies, Nu.70 million in 10 Corporations, Nu.21 million in 2 Financial Institutions and Nu.13 million in 1 Non-Government Organizations. The highest unresolved irregularities amongst the Ministries was reported in the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement with about Nu.115 million followed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests with Nu.21 million. Trashiyangtse Dzongkhag was reported to have the highest unresolved irregularities of about Nu. 20 million.   Among the autonomous agencies, Royal University of Bhutan accounted for 14% of the total irregularities followed by Tourism Corporation of Bhutan with about 1%.

 

A total of 11 recommendations were presented to the Joint Sitting by the Public Accounts Committee.

The four recommendations made by the Royal Audit Authority were:

  1. Ensure Effective utilization of infrastructure/equipment.
  2. Insurance of ongoing construction works need to be streamlined.
  3. Award of additional works in construction should be minimized through adequate planning.
  4. Community contracts should be awarded as per community contracting protocol.

 

The House deliberated on the recommendations submitted by the PAC in detail, chapter-wise-chapter and endorsed the following four-point recommendations of the PAC under Part I, Chapter 1 of the report without any change:

  1. The PAC endorsed the above four recommendations made by the RAA.
  2. Revenue collected from the public especially at the local government level be deposited into the official account on time to minimize misuse of fund.
  3. Ministry of Finance to immediately complete pending desk review of PIT and institute measures to complete the assessment on time.
  4. Bhutan Development Bank to expedite to resolve defaulted loan litigation cases from 1991-2015.   

 

During the deliberation on Chapter 2 of the report, members raised their concern that there was no recommendation for the Chapter. The Chairperson of the PAC clarified that considering that there was a resolution adopted during the 8th Session to resolve the irregularities by 30th March 2017, the PAC did not propose any recommendation for the said chapter. As for the missing and death cases, a separate recommendation has been made in the subsequent chapter.

 

During the deliberation on Part I, Chapter III on the implementation status of the resolutions of the 8th Session, the Chairperson clarified that out of the seven resolutions, five recommendations had been implemented while two were with the ACC under its review.  

 

On Chapter 4, the House endorsed the recommendation submitted by the PAC as provided hereunder:

The government in consultation with the OAG must institute a taskforce to look into instances of missing or death cases of officials and contractors and inaction even after court verdict and update the parliament in the next session.

 

The Joint Sitting of the Parliament will continue deliberations on the Performance Audit Reports tomorrow.

 

National Assembly Passes the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse (Amendment) Bill 2017 (Urgent Bill)

The National Assembly voted and adopted the Narcotics Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse (Amendment) Bill 2017 with 40 “Yes” votes, 1 “ No” and 1 “Abstain” out of 42 members present and voting.

 

In his dissenting opinion, Member from Chhumig-Ura constituency stated that although the Bill  was deliberated and reviewed thoroughly, he expressed his reservations that the Act would not benefit the youth and those detained for possession of the drug SP+ and would further prevent them from living a gainful and fruitful life. He said that further deliberations were still required on Section 137, 138 and 139 of the Act and therefore could not support the Bill.

 

National Assembly Passes the Bhutan Information Communication and Media Bill 2017

The National Assembly voted and passed the Bhutan Information Communications and Media Bill 2017 with all 44 members present voting “Yes” to the Bill.

 

The Act will repeal the Bhutan Information, Communications and Media Act 2006 and would strengthen the independence of the media and allow for a more free and vibrant media. With the adoption of the Act, a new Media Council and a National Film Commission would be established giving them more independence.

 

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