PM fires back on DNT’s allegations over FI

Not taking it lying down the Prime Minister accused the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) of effectively seeking attention from the media to show it is alive as the reason for its press release demanding the resignation of the PM and the Finance Minister over the Fiscal Incentives.

Lyonchhen accused the DNT of playing politics and said it is too early to do so as the government still has 13 months to go.

He brought up other issues like debt, central schools and others raised by DNT saying they did not have substance or were taken out of context.

The PM said that DNT’s latest outburst may have to do with BKP getting a new President and the resultant press coverage.

Lyonchhen said that as far as the government is concerned the FI is legal and the government has the prerogative to grant them.

He read out several section of the 2011 Constitutional Tax case verdict to support his case. The PM said that though the former government had raised that even the FI would get declared illegal the Supreme Court had not struck down the FI then and instead commented that the government has the prerogative to give it.

He also said that while the court had asked for various amendments to the tax provisions which was done in 2012 all the FI related clauses were left intact.

The PM said that until 8th May 2017 all FI granted be it the 2010, 2013 or 2016 ones are all legal.

Explaining why the government had accepted the FI as a money bill in Parliament the PM said that it was based on the principal that henceforth there should be more transparency on issuing FI and so it should go through Parliament.

Alluding to a 2013 FI given by the former government two months before resignation on note sheet with no information to the public the PM said that FIs can be misused in the future and so this government decided to agree to make it a money bill.

The PM said that a total of Nu 5.9 bn has been given in FI till date.

Lyonchhen also criticized the NC for voting on FI which is a money Bill and they have no right to vote over. He also criticized the deputy chair for coming out in the media and criticizing it.

The government said that anybody having an issue with it should take the matter to court.

Meanwhile there is growing apprehension in the private sector that if the courts overturn the FI from 2011 onwards then it would lead to the shutdown of the entire industrial belt in the south along with many three star and bigger hotels and also many other business establishments in Bhutan all of whom benefitted from the incentives.

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