MB Subba

The newly elected gups will not be given the option to monetise vehicle quotas until the economic situation improves, according to the minister of finance.

Gups are entitled to a vehicle quota of Nu 800,000 or the option of a monetised amount of Nu 250,000. They also have the option of a monetised amount of Nu 350,000 for the purchase of an electric vehicle.

The rule is applicable for thrompons as well.

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said that providing a monetised quota for the 205 gups would put additional pressure on the national exchequer.

“Providing a monetised vehicle quota at this moment will increase public expenditure. The vehicle quota rules that are applied to civil servants will be applicable to gups, as the latter are also public servants,” he said.

The government suspended the monetised vehicle quota for civil servants as the pandemic hit the economy.

The finance minister, however, said that gups will be provided with a vehicle quota. “Only the monetised quota is on hold until further notice,” he said.

Gups told Kuensel that providing the vehicle quota was important, in view of their increasing roles and responsibilities, and that they preferred the vehicle quota to the monetised quota.

Trashigang’s Yangnyer gup, Duptho, said that he would opt for the vehicle quota. “I would get only Nu 250,000 if I go for the monetised quota,” he said.

The Barshong gup from Tsirang, Santa Lal Powdel, said that he expected the government to provide the vehicle quota instead of the monetised one. “I understand that the government does not have enough money due to the pandemic,” he said.

One of the gups from Pemagatshel said that all the entitlements should be provided as per the Pay Commission Act and the existing rules.

The vehicle quota for gups and thrompons was introduced in 2019.

The government woud have to disburse Nu 51.5 million (M), should the 205 gups and the Samdrupjongkhar thrompon avail the monetised quota.

The country would forgo a total of Nu 164.8M in tax revenue should all of them avail the vehicle quota.

The government lost more than Nu 3 billion (B) in tax revenue from 2014 and 2018 through the vehicle quota, a facility that remains extensively misused, according to the Royal Audit Authority.

According to the Pay Commission Act, the quota shall not be transferred or sold under any circumstances, and persons doing so will be liable to pay the applicable taxes and duties and will not be eligible for the quota in the future.