Chimi Dema 

The supplementary budget appropriation of Nu 5M (million) for National Assembly (NA), is a 300 percent increase from the initial approved budget of Nu 1.766M for the financial year 2019-20.

The National Council Eminent Member Phuntsho Rapten said as he raised concerns on the supplementary budget passed by the NA on the parliamentary committees and the secretariat services.

During the deliberation of the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill for the Fiscal Year 2019-20, yesterday, Phuntsho Rapten said that other agencies do not get even 20 percent of the approved budget as supplementary.

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering presented the money Bill to the House yesterday. He informed the House that the supplementary appropriation is for a sum not exceeding Nu 903.277M as adopted by the National Assembly on February 11.

The minister said that the supplementary budget would take the total revised budget for the financial year to slightly over Nu 65,730M.

The appropriation is to cover the expenditure incurred by the salary revision and allowances for the Royal Bhutan Police, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan and JSW School of Law, and revision of stipend and subsidy to State-owned Enterprises.

Questioning the minister on how the appropriation of Nu 5M was adopted, NC members said that it would set a wrong precedent.

Phuntsho Rapten said that the finance ministry receives quite a good number of requests for the supplementary budget annually. “However, when we ignore those requests and bring our needs in the forefront, using the power, it doesn’t look appropriate.”

“If we could respect the law we have enacted and follow rules and regulations accordingly, it would be good,” he said.

Paro NC member Ugyen Tshering said that the adoption of the appropriation was against the existing norms.

The finance minister highlighted that the supplementary budget passed for the parliamentary committee and secretariat service set a wrong precedent and should be avoided in the future.

Despite raising this concern in the NA, he said that the majority supported the proposal and the budget was approved.

Meanwhile, the fiscal deficit as a percent of GDP is estimated to increase from 3.04 to 3.4 percent for this fiscal year.

The House will resume deliberation on the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill on Monday.