With a cost estimation of about Nu 167 million for class XI scholarship programme, the ministry of education will meet the expenses by re-appropriating the approved budget for fiscal year 2018-2019.
The government is providing scholarship to 4,225 class X students who could not make it to public schools to study in private schools this academic session. The government would be providing full scholarship of Nu 30,000 each for day scholars and Nu 50,000 each for boarders.
Finance minister Namgyel Tshering said the re-appropriation is done as per Article 55 of the Public Finance Act, 2007. The Article states that a budgetary body may re-appropriate funds and make technical adjustments based on the Financial Rules and Regulations issued by the Ministry of Finance from time to time.
Lyonpo said that under this Article, the budgetary body, the education ministry in this case, is allowed to make technical adjustment in consultation with the finance ministry aligning with the Finance Rules and Regulations 2016.
“This means the ministry can make technical adjustments and re-appropriate the approved budget and spend it to meet the scholarship expense as a separate activity,” lyonpo said. “However, the ministry should make sure that they don’t cross the approved ceiling fiscal budget approved by the Parliament for education.”
A total of Nu 1,100 million (M) was allocated to education ministry for the fiscal year 2018-2019.
“In doing so, the ministry should make sure that they don’t shift from a priority activity to implement and fulfill the scholarship programme,” Lyonpo said. “They can identify certain savings and activities but they can’t forgo other activities approved in this fiscal year.”
Lyonpo said that the only legality is that ministry should not exceed the budget beyond Nu 1,100M but it would not be breaching financial laws in using the approved budget to meet the entire scholarship expenditure.
“In the next parliament session, this scholarship programme would come as a new activity for education ministry with the year marked budget,” Lyonpo said, adding that this time there was a need for technical adjustment because the programme was not in the 12th Plan.
He said according to Article 14 (3) of the Constitution, public money should not be drawn from the Consolidated Fund except through appropriation in accordance with the law, which are the Finance Act and its rules and regulations.
Section 10 of Article 14 in the Constitution also states that any expenditure not included in the budget, or in excess of the budget appropriation, as well as the transfer of any fund from one part of the budget to another, shall be made in accordance with the law.
“We’re not breaching the Constitution as well as the Finance Act by re-appropriating the budget.”
In an earlier interview Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering told Kuensel that the government would ask the ministry to re-appropriate the approved budget to meet the expense and that the government would not be sourcing money from outside or from the consolidated fund.
“We should’ve passed the budget in the last Parliament for this activity but we couldn’t come up with this activity, as we were not ready and it’s our fault,” Lyonchhen said. “Now that it is implemented, we’ll legally re-appropriate the budget.”
Lyonchhen said that the ministry has already been allocated budget for next six months and which ever is immediately not required, the ministry could arrange from it.
“We will try to source funds through internal revenue and review our taxation policies and other activities to meet other pledges,” he said “ All pledges would be as per the budget although it is not in the 12th Plan.”
Meanwhile, the education ministry has said that it would publish the list of students’ index number with their placement of school on its website www.education.gov.bt today.
Yangchen C Rinzin