The Second Session of the Third Parliament of Bhutan concluded successfully on 27 June. The closing ceremony notes were presented to His Majesty The King by the Speaker, Opposition Leader (OL), National Council (NC) Chairperson and the Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs.
The Parliament offered prayers for the long life of His Majesty The King, Members of the Royal Family, His Holiness the Je Khenpo, and for the continued peace, prosperity and harmony of the Bhutanese people.
The Parliament thanked His Majesty The King for his various important contributions for the welfare of the nation and its people. Prayers and condolences were offered over the demise of Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji who passed away on 12 May 2019 at his home in Punakha. The House went on to congratulate the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and his party on their second win.
Tshogpon Wangchuk Namgyel shared that during the First Session of the Third Parliament, the House ratified the Air Service Agreement between the Royal Government of Bhutan (RoGB) and the Government of the United Arab Emirates, and accordingly the agreement has been granted Royal Assent for enforcement.
NA has extensively deliberated on the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan, and the Civil and Criminal Procedural Code (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan, and accordingly forwarded the Bills to the National Council.
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has been ratified as well. Furthermore, the Mines and Minerals Bill of Bhutan has been introduced and forwarded to the relevant committee for review. The Bill is expected to be adopted in the next session of the Parliament.
“During the deliberation on the Annual Budget 2019-2020, the Parliament approved a total budget of Nu 64,826.725 million (mn), out of which recurrent expenditure is Nu 34,652.765 mn, and the capital expenditure Nu 30,173.960 mn,” informed the Tshogpon.
The Parliament also allocated 50 percent of the budget to the central government and 50 percent of the budget to the Local Government. In addition to the approved budget of Nu 47,698.129 mn for the FY 2018-19, an additional Supplementary Budget of Nu 1,627.410 million was also passed by the Parliament, and thus a revised budget of Nu 49,325.539 mn has been adopted as per the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill, he added.
The National Assembly also deliberated on ‘Achieving the Vision of SDGs in the 12th FYP’ with priorities set on health and education.
PM presented the first Annual Report on the State of the Nation, including the Legislative Plans, Annual Plans and Priorities of the Government to the Joint Sitting of the Parliament.
During the visit of MPs to Wangdue Dzong Reconstruction Project, it was found that the estimated cost of project in 2014 was Nu1,323,828 mn and the project is expected to be completed by 2022.
PHPA I is expected to be completed by 2023-24 with additional revised of Nu 93.75 billion (bn) while PHPA II is expected to be completed by 2022 with additional revised budget of Nu 72.90 bn.
The status of completion of PHPA I is 85 percent and PHPA II is 83 percent, said the Speaker.
During the PM’s visit to Brussels, Belgium this June, EU approved an additional funding of Euro 7.3 mn to Bhutan for the establishment of the National Training Centre for Search and Rescue and the Water Flagship Programme. The EU also assured its continued support to Bhutan through the next EU Multi-annual Indicative Programme 2021-2027, he added.