Finance and labour ministers deny vehicle quota and job pledge to every household

Thinley Namgay

The property ownership transfer tax that was reduced from five percent to one percent would address the vehicle quota pledge, according to Finance Minister Namgay Tshering.

He said that while answering Wamrong’s Member of Parliament (MP), Karma Thinley’s query on an update of the government’s pledge to provide vehicle quota of Nu 1.5M to every household.

Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, however, claimed the pledge was not in the manifesto book. “I don’t know if other members have pledged it and I don’t remember if I have also pledged. But that doesn’t mean we would not provide the quota.”

He said that if required for the country and people, the government would provide the quota.

Kengkhar-Weringla MP, Rinzin Jamtsho, also questioned the minister on the government pledge to formulate similar price for land and properties in rural areas like that of urban areas for the welfare of rural residents.

Lyonpo Namgay Tshering said while the price for land and properties was fixed in 1996, property assessment and valuation agency (PAVA) rate came into existence in 2008. “The PAVA rate has to be verified after three years and it was done in 2009 and 2017. For this year, it is ready and we will inform in April.”

He also said that fixing similar price would benefit only few and it would have a negative impact on the people living in rural areas. “After making same price, if the tax was also imposed the same as that of urban areas, it will impact people in the rural areas.”

Meanwhile, Jomotshangkha-Martshala MP, Norbu Wangzom, asked the labour minister to clarify the government’s pledge to provide employment to each household.

MP Norbu Wangzom insisted the minister to update the Parliament members on the total employment opportunities provided till date and what are the plans and strategies that are in place to provide employment opportunities as pledged.

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said the pledge to provide employment for every household was not in the manifesto book. “I don’t know whether MPs had pledge this during their election campaign but I have not told even once.”

He claimed that even if one of his friends has told this during the campaign, they would accept it as their pledge and the government’s initiatives to reduce poverty is aligned to provide job to every Bhutanese. “Gross National Happiness Commission has listed people who fall under poverty and they have also prepared plans and policies to implement it.”  

MP Norbu Wangzom, however, said that people usually vote based on the pledges made by the political parties. “Pledging what was not included in the manifesto book is deceiving people to win a vote.”

She also said that during the campaign, government MPs claimed that research on their pledges was done before five years.

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