NA decides to withdraw enterprise bill

Parliament: The National Assembly yesterday decided to withdraw and reintroduce the Enterprise Registration bill to avoid confrontation between the two houses of Parliament. The house will today pass a resolution to this effect.

Chairperson of the Assembly’s Economic Development and Private Sector Committee, Novin Darlami said although some members were not happy, it was the best option left for the government.

The bill will be re-introduced in the summer session next year. “The bill cannot be moved in a joint siting since there are no disputed clauses because the Council did not deliberate on it,” he said.

Withdrawal of the bill, he said would also avoid confrontation between the two houses of parliament. “It’s not wise to point fingers among the members of the two houses,” he said.

The proposal to withdraw and redraft the bill first came from the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). The BCCI had informed the Council that the bill was a duplication of the existing licensing system and could lead to added administrative burden.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo said it was important to maintain an understanding between the two houses and requested the members to support the recommendation for withdrawal. He said the Assembly has deliberated the bill thrice and that the house would be deliberating the bill for two years if it were re-introduced next year.

Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi blamed the government for the consequence saying it had failed to pass the bill in two years due to lack of adequate homework. He said the objectives of a single window system for services were ambiguous.

“While introducing the bill, the government said it would benefit a lot but it was not the case. The government should not retract from its words,” he said.

He said the bill should also clarify whether certificate of registration and license were the same.

In response, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said, “Some haven’t understood the difference between a license and a certificate of registration,” adding that the government felt it was better to re-introduce the bill than allow it to die.

He said the government was ready to withdraw the bill on the grounds that more time was needed to enact it as recommended by the Council. “But if it is to be withdrawn on the grounds that the government didn’t do its homework, I would not support,” he said.

MB Subba 

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