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To ensure a smooth transition into the next Plan, the finance minister presented an interim budget at the National Assembly yesterday. The first fiscal year of the 12th Plan, 2018-19 fiscal year, will begin from July 1 next month.

“Since this is a unique situation and to set good precedence, the government in consultation with key stakeholders has formulated an interim budget for FY 2018-19 for consideration by the Parliament,” finance minister, Namgay Dorji, said.

To this effect, a budget of Nu 43.5B has been proposed, of which current expenditure is estimated at Nu 29B and capital at Nu 10.7B. The remaining Nu 3.6B and Nu 288M has been earmarked for loan repayment and lending.

Domestic revenue is projected to increase by 4.4 percent to Nu 35.8B compared with the previous fiscal year.

However, revenue from indirect tax is expected to decline by 25 percent since the government will not get excise duty refund from India after the implementation of GST.

External grant too, is on account of ongoing externally-funded projects. India’s assistance on financing for construction of Sarpang and Pemagatshel dzongs, Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Mother and Child Hospital and Northern East-West highway widening is going to continue.

The domestic revenue and grants, which forms the total resource available for the fiscal year comes to about Nu 40.7B. The total expenditure, both current and capital forms about Nu 39.8B, leaving behind a fiscal balance of Nu 895M, which is 0.4 percent of the GDP.

The retirement benefit of the members of the Parliament (Nu 50.7M) has resulted in 1.7 percent increase current expenditure. Another Nu 469M has been provisioned for the upcoming elections.

 

Sectoral Allocation

Health sector is allocated Nu 3.99B, of which Nu 3.24B is for current and Nu 751.5M  capital. Of the total capital budget, Nu 607.4M is kept under the Ministry of Health for spillover activities, critical regular activities and for ongoing donor funded activities. The balance capital budget of Nu 144.1M is kept with JDWNRH, dzongkhags and Bhutan Medical and Health Council.

Under education sector, a sum of Nu 8.65B has been allocated of which Nu 7.47B is for current and Nu 1.17B for capital. The construction of seven central schools has been allotted Nu 44M.

RNR sector is allotted with Nu 3.53B. Of the capital expenditure of Nu 1.06B, Nu 141M has been earmarked for horticulture, food security and agriculture productivity programmes. For compensating crop and livestock losses incurred due to wildlife depredation and natural calamities, endowment fund for crop and livestock conservation has been established with a seed capital of Nu 50M. “In view of the importance attached to the Fund, Nu 20M has been kept as RGoB’s contribution to the Fund. Further, development partners will be requested to contribute to the Fund.

Energy, mining and industries sectors are allotted Nu 1,05B, nearly half of which is capital expenditure. Of the total capital, Nu 372M has been kept under the Ministry of Economic Affairs. About Nu 169.59M is allocated to MoLHR and Tourism Council of Bhutan.

For the vocational and training sector, about Nu 545M has been earmarked. Of this, Nu 153M is allocated for employment guaranteed programme, direct employment scheme and overseas employment schemes.

Almost Nu 4B has been provisioned for roads and urban sector. Of the Nu 3B capital, Nu 2,787.792 million is kept for the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement for spillover activities and for ongoing donor funded activities. Remaining Nu 126M is allotted to the dzongkhags and thromdes.

Another Nu 1.5B is allocated for culture sector. One of the major projects include reconstruction of Druk Donkhak Tsholing Goenpa in Kathmandu Nepal, conservation of Gasa and Drukgyel dzongs, Tango monastery and Wangduephodrang dzong among others.

Under law and order, Nu 2.3B has been allocated, of which only Nu 295M constitute capital. Sports sector is allotted Nu 144.8M, the least.

 

Tshering Dorji

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