… import of luxury motor vehicles suspended

Yangchen C Rinzin

The payment for Company Income Tax (CIT) and Business Income Tax (BIT) for income year 2019 is deferred until December for tourism and related sectors as per the Comprehensive National Response to the Challenge of the Covid-19 Pandemic Phase II.

Other sectors have the option to pay the applicable CIT and BIT in installments by September if a sector cannot pay in one go.

In March the government deferred the filing for CIT and BIT 2019 until June 30.

Of the total 426 registered CIT payers, only 86 had filed tax returns as of March 26 while of the 40,267 registered BIT payers, only 21,342 have filed their tax returns.

As a fiscal measure, the government has also decided to waive the monthly rent and other charges for six additional months (July to December) for tourism-related business entities. This is applicable only to those entities leasing government property, as per the press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The deferment of electricity charges for industries will be extended until December and the demand charges will continue to be paid on the actual consumption basis. The demand charges otherwise are based on fixed payment.

Apart from the loan deferment and interest waiver, hotels that are used as quarantine facility will continue to receive electricity and free WiFi until September. There are 52 active quarantine centres with more than 800 people as of yesterday.

Based on the front loading of priority activities for the Financial Year (FY) 2020-2021, the government has decided to enhance capital budget outlay from Nu 27 billion to Nu 36 billion. This is expected to boost economic activity and sustain growth.

A total of Nu 4 billion has been approved over and above the budget for FY 2020-2021 to accelerate projects in the areas of tourism resilience, agriculture and Build Bhutan programme. It will be also used to improve farm roads.

The press release stated that the Procurement Rules and Regulations have been simplified with provisions for direct award of works, goods and services to expedite the implementation of activities of the 12FYP and Economic Contingency Plan.

The government will also issue Guidelines for Domestic Preference for Procurement of Goods 2020 with effective from July 1 to provide 10 percent domestic preference. This will also promote domestic products.

To ensure essential food and non-food items, the government will continue to provide support to Food Corporation of Bhutan to stock items.

The government has also decided to suspend the import of luxury motor vehicles and bikes where the value exceeds USD 40,000 and USD 10,000 or its equivalent.

This is to ensure adequate international reserve is maintained to cover the import of essential items for one year as per the Constitution.