Tshering Palden 

In a show of solidarity with the government, the Members of the Parliament (MP), including the Prime Minister committed to donate their one month’s salary to the government for COVID-19 response efforts.

The contribution could save the government more than Nu 5.4 million.

National Council’s deputy Speaker, Jigme Wangchuk, who is also the spokesperson for the House, said, “As representatives of people, we unanimously agreed and decided to help the government during this difficult period. We decided to support the government by contributing our one month’s salary.”

He said it was important to support the government in the efforts to respond to the COVID-19.

Jigme Wangchuk said that should the situation worsen the MPs were ready to commit to more.

MPs from the two Houses of the Parliament said that it was crucial to unite in the efforts to support the government. 

The MPs including ministers, NC chairperson, and the Prime Minister would forgo foreign tours, constituency visits, and other tours to divert the budget to the contingency fund.

A  Joint-Parliamentary Think Tank  Committee will also be established to support the government’s continuous efforts in disseminating authentic information and also to look into the economic impact of COVID-19 and submit recommendations for government’s  interventions. 

They said mainstreaming information dissemination was important to convey the correct information to the people in the villages.

The committee will comprise of three members from the National Council and four from the National Assembly.  The Speaker of the National Assembly, Chairperson of the National Council, and Opposition Leader will also be members of the committee.

Meanwhile, major donors, individuals and private firms offered their support to the government yesterday.

WHO Bhutan Office donated Nu 12.52 million to the health ministry to support activities towards COVID-19 preparedness and response, and committed further support.

Bhutan Raven Motorcycle Club from Phuentsholing contributed Nu 1 million to the Prime Minister for the COVID-19 Contingency Fund. They also provide refreshments to volunteers who screen commuters at the entry point in Phuentsholing everyday.

Karma Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies donated 5,500 face masks to the health ministry. The health ministry stated that the masks will be distributed to all the health screening teams at points of entry and flu clinics.

Pema by Realm served free dinner to officials engaged in the ongoing efforts to contain the local transmission of the virus at the health ministry office. A private firm, Sherza Ventures donated two barrels (400 litres) of spirit mixture for hand sanitiser to the ministry.

A businessman in Phuntsholing, Kipchu Norzang contributed five truckloads of gravel and a truckload of sand for free to level the Phuentsholing hospital ground to pitch tents for patient evacuation and flu clinic. RBA personnel, Desuups and Phuentsholing Thromde rendered manpower and machinery support.

Meanwhile, Bhutanese in Perth, Australia have begun fundraising to support the government in its response to the COVID-19.