The National Council during its question hour with Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay saw members expressing doubts and concerns on the establishment of Business Opportunity and Information Center (BOIC) and the salary scales for the CEO and the other staff.
Eminent member Dasho Karma Yezer Raydi representing the house asked the prime minister on the specific provision of the law that authorizes the government to establish an office outside the civil service without the approval of parliament. He also asked the government’s plan to legalize the existence of the BOIC that is funded by the public money.
He said that in regard to the establishment of institutions, certain written laws should be noted for instance Article 20 section 2 of the constitution empowers the parliament to create additional ministries in the government but the executive has no power to create or reduce the number of ministries which requires the parliament’s approval.
Further he read out that the Section 6 of Article 20 stipulates that the Lhengye Zhungtshog shall promote an efficient civil administration and section 29 0f the Civil Service Act 2010 authorizes the Lhengye Zhungtshog to create, abolish, upgrade or alter organizational structures in the Ministries and autonomous agencies.
He also added that based on these provisions, it is clear that the government is authorized to create or abolish divisions and departments under the Ministries but if a component of the civil service is to be delinked from the Civil Service, it must be approved by the parliament.
Hence he said that, the Civil Service Act provides a legal basis for the government order of the Prime Minister on December 19th 2013 approving the establishment of BOIC as a time bound autonomous agency in the ministry of Economic Affairs, if it were a civil service office under the MoEA.
However he said that the BOIC has been established as a non-civil service office, employing staff who resigned from civil service and other corporate offices.
Following the question raised by the House the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that BOIC is not under the ministry and should not have to abide by the Article 20 section 2 of the constitution.
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay also added that going by the Civil Service Act it authorizes the Lhengye Zhungtshog to create, abolish, upgrade or alter organizational structures in the Ministries and autonomous agencies, however, he said that while establishing BOIC even the Civil Service Act is not applicable as BOIC would not function as a civil service office.
Lyonchhen added that the establishment of BOIC happened only after the government order issued by the Lhengye Zhungtshog. He said since the establishment of BOIC took place based on the government order it should be abolished if it contravenes the constitution and rule of law.
However, Lyonchhen said that the government’s order regarding the establishment of BOIC has not contravened any prevailing laws and is in line with the Constitution and also Constitutional processes.
Meanwhile His Majesty’s nominee Tashi Wangyal said that the salaries allotted for the staffs and the Company Executive Officer of the BOIC is alarmingly high, especially when the country is facing an economic crisis.
He said that considering the amount of work for the CEO, having to manage only a handful of staffs and a budget management little less than 2 billion, he said that the salary allotted for the BOIC CEO is a concern for the house and the people.
Hence he asked the prime minister in what grounds the CEO and the staffs of the BOIC deserved such hefty salaries.
In response to this the Prime minister said that the government has no say over the pay allotment of the CEO and the staffs of the BOIC, but it was done by the board members of BOIC. He also said that the amount and the nature of the works should be also considered while discussing the salary allotted for them.