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

Posted on :13 June 2017

The Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) who is also the Member from Kabji-Talo constituency presented the performance audit reports to the joint sitting of parliament today. The report was presented after the Royal Kasho for convention of the joint sitting was read out by the Secretary General of the National Assembly in the House.

 

The report consists of two chapters on the review of the performance audit reports and the implementation status of resolutions of the 7th session of the second parliament. A total of 11 recommendations were also presented to the joint sitting for deliberation. Some of the recommendations include bringing in informal trade through issuance of license, vigorous implementation of the Disaster Management Act and establishment of sustainable trust fund for disaster management.  

 

The PAC had further recommended the need to revisit the Gewog Development Grant (GDG) guidelines and to strengthen monitoring mechanisms at the Gewog level for activities funded through GDG. Fixation of direct accountability on local government functionaries for non-compliance of GDG guidelines were recommended as well.

 

The other recommendations of the PAC include allocation of adequate time to prepare the detailed project report for hydro power projects and enhancement of Public Expenditure Management System (PEMS) among others.

 

On the recommendation to require licenses for informal trade, the Economic Minister expressed that the recommendation was not feasible and it would alarm many people who are involved in petty informal trades. Many others like the Minister for Education and Member from Panbang constituency expressed similar views. Others like the Member from Wamrong constituency submitted that the informal trade in this context had to be understood as imports coming through the entry points and not petty commercial activities such as selling farm products.

 

The joint sitting making slight changes on the recommendation resolved that the Ministry of Economic Affairs upon assessment must take the responsibility of bringing any informal trade through issuance of license. It was further resolved that the online licensing system of departments related to trade and industries under the ministry should be integrated with the Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS).

 

Deliberating on the recommendation to establish a trust fund for the disaster management, most of the Members expressed their views otherwise. The Finance Minister submitted that a total of 225 million was already allocated for disaster management in the fiscal year 2017-18 with provision for separate budget in the event of disaster. Thus, he expressed that a separate trust fund was not needed for disaster management. The Members from Panbang and Khar-Yurung constituencies also expressed similar views on the recommendation. The recommendation was subsequently withdrawn after the Members expressed not to endorse it with a show of hands.

 

One of the contentious deliberations for the day was held on the third recommendation which requires revisiting the Gewog Development Grant (GDG) and strengthening monitoring mechanisms for GDG activities. Some of the Members like the Foreign Minister submitted that the recommendation if endorsed would undermine the independence of the local government. The Finance Minister clarified that the government had decided not to revise the GDG guidelines at this point of time as it would do more harm than good given the final year of the current plan.

 

However, others like the Chairperson of the PAC submitted that the recommendation on revisiting the GDG was mainly proposed as most of the Gewogs have not been able to monitor the GDG activities. The Member from Nganglam constituency who is also a member of the PAC said that accountability should be fixed for non compliance to GDG guidelines as every single penny of the government must be accounted for.

 

Despite deliberating on the recommendation at length, the House could not come to a decision today. The deliberation will resume tomorrow in the House.

 

 

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