The Prime Minister said the first national lockdown would hugely affect the budget and the five-year plan.
He said that in terms of the budget the impact would not be that much directly but the inability to implement would also impact the budget and not being able to spend in the long run is going to have a huge impact.
He said that so far there is no major re-planning.
“We have had a couple of dozen of exercises and a lot of 12th plan activities are already remodeled. Those which cannot be done due to COVID-19 has been cancelled and those that cannot be done now due to import and other issues have mostly been reprioritized.
So this is not the 12th plan we approved in the winter of 2018 as a lot has been changed,” said the PM
“However, changes will be made if need be in the case of more lockdowns,” said the PM.
The PM said that in the 2020-21 budget the MoF has said that it has the right to change it whenever required and then the government will inform the Parliament in the next session.
Lyonchhen said that the the Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay Tshering’s hands are really full. “He needs to re-appropriate budget on a daily basis,” said the PM.
“Why do Finance Ministers commit suicide at these times. He is into that stress. I said I don’t know as how many millions I want I will ask you, and from where you get it don’t ask me. Your job is to re-appropriate by not cancelling major activities and by not undoing the major structure of our plan,” said the PM.
Lyonchhen said that Lyonpo was telling him that he managed to get Nu 1.3 bn from here and there.
PM said that Nu 1.3 bn is required for different issues as part of the COVID-19 response because the government needs to have a piggy bank.
“We need this for the essentials,” said the PM.
The PM said Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor is all after livestock and agriculture products. Lyonpo Loknath Sharma is focused on the economy as the PM told him to chart out a way ahead as now they are hampered and asked him for activities. “I asked him to get one dollar earning activity so that immediately we can come up as tourism the main constant source of dollar is not going to come,” said the PM.
“I was telling Lyonpo Yeshey vegetables have to be collected as normally they bring it to the Sabzi bazar but now that they cannot come he can get one DCM to go to Lobesa fill it up and bring and pay the transportation cost,” said the PM.
“In one small activity the government expenditure may be Nu 1 to 2 mn but when you have 10 of those activities in a day that is around Nu 10 mn,” said the PM.
“But like His Majesty said it is easier to look for money. If money is helpful now, then that is the easiest thing we can do. If money can help we have no problem,” he added.