For quite some time it has been a virtual open secret that some Bhutanese hold bank accounts and even assets outside Bhutan. This is especially so in the border regions where a lot of trade and movement take place.
Now, the National Council under the purview of ‘policy review issues’ will present a report and move a motion concerning the ownership of assets and accounts abroad by Bhutanese.
The Economic Affairs Committee of the National Council was tasked for looking after the issue.
The committee Chairperson NC MP from Dagana Sonam Dorji said that the main objective of the motion is to have a law in place on the issue so as to curb corruption and tax evasion.
He said that with the pace of development, economic activities and transactions they could see and foresee such foreign transactions.
Giving an example the MP said that a few years back the NC did a study on mining activities and found that mining companies had been making losses on paper for fifteen to sixteen years but were still doing business. From these instances the NC committee could see tax evasion in business transactions.
He said similarly there were entrepreneurs having business in other countries.
The MP said that there are some rules from 1980’s and in 1993-94 but they are not being applied or followed.
The NC Deputy Chair Tshering Dorji from Haa said that the primary concern has been the growing income disparity between haves and have not. That is the reason why the NC in the past called on the government for changes in the tax structure.
He also said there is evidence of Bhutanese owning assets and accounts abroad exacerbating the growing income disparity.
“That is why we are submitting the motion to address the issue of ownership of assets and accounts abroad,” he said.
Once the motion is moved it can be sent to the relevant agency for action. The agency can also get back to the NC with legitimate issues and explanations surrounding the motion.
However, if the agency refuses to adhere to the motion the NC can deliberate on the issue again and have the option of drafting its own law on the issue.