S/jongkhar thromde proposes revision of land taxes

Thimphu thromde proposed the same during its MTR on May 1 

MTR: Samdrupjongkhar thromde proposed for a revision of the existing urban land taxes to achieve financial sustainability at the mid-term review on May 15.

Thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyal said that the government could review and revise the land tax that is collected based on the 1992 rate, as thromde cannot generate internal revenue for financial sustainability.

He said that as the existing land tax is based on  the 1992 rate which is comparatively low, the thromde could not meet the current expenditure through internal revenue.

Given such issues, the thromde was able to achieve only 36 percent of its target to generate internal revenue. While the thromde generated a total of Nu 19.13 million (M) in the last two years, the expenditure stood at 52.602M. A few solutions proposed to generate income for the thromde were collection of fees from parking, market shed, library membership, sewerage connection and service charges, among others.

The thromde also requested that the government review three key performances that were at risk. They are reduction of crime incidences and drug abuse that are increasing in the town and infant mortality rate given the fact that the thromde didn’t have a direct role to play.

Given the lack of experienced human resources, thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyal also recommended that the government help build the thromde’s human resource capacity. Of the 46 civil servants working in the thromde, only three has a master’s degree. There is no divisional chief while the remaining 22 civil servants hold less than five years of work experience.

“We would like to request for trainings as lack of experience has hindered implementation of developmental activities,” the thrompon said.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said that increasing the taxation was not the only option. Lyonchoen requested taxpayers to pay tax on time and asked thromde officials to work together and come up with ideas and submit a proposal, which the government would look into.

Lyonchoen also asked the thromde to work out a proposal with regard to the human resource capacity to be submitted to the Royal Civil Service Commission and Gross National Happiness Commission.

“When it comes to crime reduction it’s not just the responsibility of the police but the thromde should also cooperate in creating awareness among people,” Lyonchoen said.

Although infant mortality rate was not from the floating population, Lyonchoen said there is still a need to look into the matter and inform the government if there is a need for extra health officials.

Lyonchoen also expressed concerns over poor performance outcome of science and math at 42 percent on average, Dzongkha with 57 percent and English at 53 percent. Lyonchoen said the responsibility falls on parents besides teachers.

Samdrupjongkhar thromde achieved 28 of the 44 key performance indicators while 12 are on track and four at risk. Some of the key result areas are effective and efficient public service delivery, improved quality of urban infrastructure facilities and services and environment friendly human settlement developed.

About 85 percent of the water coverage target was achieved with people having access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water and sanitation while the target of providing reliable water supply is well on track. “This would be solved once we construct the new intake and water treatment plant under the Asian Development Bank project.”

The thromde utilised 96 percent of the approved budget including SDP III and ADB funded budgets.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar

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