Flexibility for entertainment centers across Bhutan brought up in NA

The Chumig-Ura MP questioned the Minister of economic affairs seeking for explanation and clarity in regard to issue of having no uniformity in night closing timing.

He asked the minister, ‘Can the  minister explain or clarify to the house regarding the issue of having no uniformity of night timing (closing time) for the entertainment places across 20 dzongkhags in the country.”

The MP said that the reason for asking this question is because few months back, entertainment places owners in Thimphu faced issues with timing so the extension was given to them from 7pm at night to 5 am in the morning.

Similarly, even in other parts of Bhutan with changing times, there are no districts without entertainment places maybe except for few so the owners from those districts don’t expect timing extension to be done till 5 am in the morning like Thimphu but what they are really asking for is timing extension at night to be extended to 1 am instead of 10-11 pm.

He said the reason is that even they pay the same amount of tax for license annually and moreover, customers who come to entertainment places come only after dinner so they come only around 9 to 10 but by the time they come, it’s almost time to close so the owners don’t get much of a profit.

“Therefore, it seemed to me as if there are 2 different laws in 1 nation and keeping all the concerns in mind if Lyonpo can clarify this doubt with the hope that Lyonpo will grant timing extension to all the other dzongkhags as it will benefit everyone,” he said.

Lyonpo in his reply to the question said that what one must understand that ICM Act of Bhutan, 2018 states that all entertainment places owners must register their place under Dzongkhag/Thromde Entertainment licensing committee and that clearance and location must also be taken from them.

Furthermore, Lyonpo said it was under decentralization that rights to such decisions were given.  He said that BICMA looks into this and that they are in the process of making changes in the law and so they are not sure if the committee will also look at the timing necessarily.

He added that, ‘I hope this law should be made flexible or else timing in all the districts should be kept the same but if the Dzongkhag committee wants to keep the timing it as same then there is nothing me or my ministry can do.

I think the timing is kept differently because in places like Phuentsholing which is a border town extension of timing can lead to security and other issues whereas in Thimphu there can be another reason for extending time.”

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