During the Meet-the- Press session held yesterday, the Prime Minister said the electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of transportation in Bhutan. He said even leading experts around the world share the same conviction.
“We have a wonderful opportunity to use cheap, renewable resources that we produce in Bhutan by ourselves that is electricity to replace fossil fuel that is imported, dirty and expensive,” Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said.
In addition, he added that electricity, which is domestically produced and is environment friendly, is cheap and renewable rather than the non-sustainable fossil fuel.
On the economic benefit, Lyonchhen said that electric cars would garner savings for the country, in terms of rupee balance and debt meeting the goal of economic self-reliance.
“It is still a choice,” Lyonchhen said on the owning a car, “Government has not forced any one, in the private sector or in the government to drive electric vehicles.”
He said the government has continued the policy of previous government to make it convenient to buy and drive electric vehicles.
Lyonchhen also clarified the perception of the Office of Prime Minister as the product testing ground to be wrong. He justified that all vehicles that come into Bhutan need not be tested since it has already been tested.
Upon some people’s opinion of the Prime Minister as the brand ambassodar of the EVs, Lyonchhen said he would consider it as a compliment.
On the utility vehicles, Lyonchhen said that it has a favourable tax struture compared to all other vehicles. The utility vehicles would be imposed a tax of 15%, which is a sales tax of 10% and 5% green tax.
“The idea is not to benefit businesses, it is to benefit farmers,” he said revealing its main purpose.
Utility vehicles would be the 4-wheel drive pick ups like Mahindra(Bolero), TATA(Xenon), etc., not exceeding Nu 0.8 mn. Only the farmers, rural businesses and farmers’ groups and cooperatives would be eligible for it.