Chimi Dema

The National Council yesterday decided to repeal section 6 of the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill Financial Year 2019-20 and assigned the Economic Affairs Committee to prepare the Bill for final adoption.

Section 6 proposes a supplementary budget of Nu 5 million (M) to the National Assembly for Parliamentary Committees and secretariat services.

While re-deliberating on the Bill, many NC members questioned its legitimacy and shared concerns of conflict of interest.

Paro NC member and chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, Ugyen Tshering, said that even the NC has shortage of resources for running committees and secretariat services for the next four months.

But appropriating such supplementary budget to overcome shortage each time would violate existing norms and set wrong precedent, he said.

Chhukha NC member, Sangay Dorji, questioned if the procedure followed to approve the budget was right.

He said that going by the procedure, approval should come through finance ministry. “But when it is the Parliament which is proposing and endorsing the budget, it questions the norms.”

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Namgay Tshering presented the money Bill to the House on February 14. 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.

With the supplementary budget, the total revised budget for the 2019-2020 financial year is about Nu 65,730M.

The appropriation of Nu 898.277M 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.

The House will adopt the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill, today.