The education city bill was passed amid much skepticism during its deliberations especially in light of its unconfirmed nature which was deliberated in parliament, whether private or public?
During discussions the NA MP Damcho Dorji and NC MP Karma Donnen Wangdi said that the education bill was technically ‘more of a private bill’ rather than a public bill.
This claim was flatly dismissed by Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba and Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk during the recent Meet the Press session.
The ministers said that the bill was never a private bill as claimed by the MPs.
The works and human settlement minister said that the bill although not the same but is similar to the university of medical sciences bill which was also not passed as private bill.
He said that when foreign investors have to put in a lot of capital they won’t be very comfortable unless their investment is backed by a rigid law which did not exist at that time.
So, he said “a legal basis had to be created which was exactly done during the ninth session of the first parliament”.
Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba said if the bill had any bad implications for the country then the parliament wouldn’t have allowed it.
During deliberations on the bill this however was not something that was very much supported by most parliamentarians since as mentioned earlier that it was technically a private bill.
He said that we are fortunate to have received huge grants owing to which we could manage even without a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) act. While adding that the grants and donations won’t last for long, after which he said, “even if it lasts then we have a price to pay,” the minister of Work and Human Settlement minister’s words which meant that Bhutan may be compelled to listen to these donor countries or entities.
He said the bill was passed not only to protect the interests of the investors but also to protect the interest of the country along thereby establishing that the objective is not for the private but for the nation.
According to him these issues would have been taken care of, had there been an FDI act. He said, when it comes to land the Bhutanese people are extremely sensitive but he said the people should know that the private investors are spending so much money in it while taking enormous risks as well.
In the meantime, MPs of both the houses are extremely expectant to have proper procedures in place to pass bills which should be rather classified into three separate classifications as public bill, private bill and the private member’s bill.
The NC MPs say that parliamentarians should be very much aware of this classification of bills.