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Recommendations of the National Council on the Budget Appropriation Bill, Pay Revision Report and the Fiscal Incentive Bill deliberated

Posted on :12 June 2017

The House today re-deliberated on the recommendations of the National Council on the budget appropriation bill 2017-18, pay revision report (Money bill) and the fiscal incentive bill 2017. A total of seven recommendations were made on the budget appropriation bill and four recommendations on the pay revision bill. The National Council had, however, revoked the fiscal incentives bill 2017 with four general objections and 10 specific objections.

 

One of the extensive deliberations on the budget appropriation bill was held on the first recommendation which proposes to discontinue the children’s parliament program and reallocate the budget to other programs on democracy and elections. Some of the Members supported the National Council’s recommendation and expressed that children’s parliament should be reviewed and its implications studied before allocating the budget for the purpose.

 

Others like the cabinet ministers expressed that supporting the children’s parliament will not undermine the study time of the children as claimed by some but will benefit educational objectives on democracy and parliament. The House resolved that the Election Commission of Bhutan, Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies should review the issue on Bhutan Children’s Parliament and submit a report thereof to the House in future.

 

One of the recommendations on the pay revision report was to review the Nu.100 communication allowance for the Gewog and Thromde Tshogpas as recommended by the pay commission. The National Council’s recommendation states that Nu.100 communication allowance was inadequate as the Gewog Tshogpas had to communicate most of the information on behalf of the Gups and Mangmis.

 

Deliberating on the recommendation, the Member from Panbang constituency set forth that the communication allowance should be increased to Nu. 500. On the other hand, the Member from Chumey-Ura constituency and the Minister for Finance submitted that Nu. 100 communication allowances may not be adequate but it was imperative to introduce the trend.

 

One of the objections of the National Council on the fiscal incentives bill was doubts surrounding the benefits of the fiscal incentives on balanced regional development and narrowing of gap between the Haves and Have Nots. The other House has also objected on the internal revenue implications which may ensue as a result of tax exemptions to various tax paying organizations among others.

 

The Education Minister expressed that grant of tax holiday will mainly enhance the economy by benefiting small businesses and the private sector. He added that the Economic Development Policy on which the other House had expressed doubts was a result of comprehensive and intensive consultations which were held for the duration of four years. Concluding his submission, he highlighted that the fiscal incentive will benefit the country.

 

The Member from Khar-Yurung constituency expressed that irrespective of the National Council’s authority on the money bill, it was a matter of concern when the fiscal incentives bill 2017 is revoked by the National Council. The Member from Chumey- Ura constituency opined that the National Council should have recommended to revoke the money bill instead of directly stating that the bill has been revoked in the transmittal letter to the National Assembly. He added that such practice would indicate equal power of both the Houses over money bills and set precedence in the future. The Finance Minister also expressed similar views.

 

After deliberating on the objections of the National Council on the fiscal incentives bill 2017, the House nonetheless resolved to affirm to its earlier resolution passing the fiscal incentives as a money bill and enforceable with effect from 8th May 2017.

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