MB Subba

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering yesterday presented the supplementary budget appropriation of Nu 898.277 for the financial year 2019-20 on account of the salary revision that was not included in the approved budget.

The funds for the supplementary budget appropriations will be drawn from the government’s consolidated fund.

The minister reported that the supplementary budget would take the total revised budget for the financial year to slightly over Nu 65,725M. The approved budget including repayment on lending was Nu 64,826.725M.

“The fiscal deficit as a percent of GDP is estimated to increase from 3.04 to 3.08 percent for the fiscal year 2019-20,” the finance minister said.

“All expenses pertaining to the supplementary budget appropriation shall be undertaken in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Public Finance Amendment Act 2012 and the Financial Rules and Regulations 2016,” he said.

The additional budget will defray the expenditure on account of the revision of pay and allowances for institutes and government-owned corporations that were not included in the 2019-20 budget.

The supplementary appropriations are Nu 684.752M for Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), Nu 35.455M for Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences (KGUMS), Nu 8.961M for Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Nu 54.7M for government-owned corporations, and Nu 114.409M for the revision of student stipends.

The finance minister said that the supplementary appropriation for corporations will be provided as subsidies.

Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said that housing was one of a major problem for Royal Bhutan Police personnel. “While most of their houses are too old to be occupied, some are staying in private houses,” he said.

Dorji Wangdi questioned on what basis the government would select students that would get freebies in central schools. The Speaker said that the issue could be deliberated later.

All central school students received freebies, including shoes and uniforms. But the government recently said that it would provide freebies to only about 10,000 needy and disadvantaged students from this academic session.

Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel declared the supplementary budget appropriation Bill as a Money Bill. The Bill, he said, should be passed within the same session and it will be tabled in the House for the third reading.