The electric car issue came up in the eighth press meet in light of the Royal Monetary Authority’s recent statement that banks should not provide loans for electric vehicles.
The question to the government was on how they were going to promote the electric vehicle in Bhutan when the Central Bank does not favor it citing the current economic situation, huge current deficit, inflation, constraints in the balance of payments, parking constraints and Bhutan already being a Carbon sink.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said, “We will talk with the central bank but unfortunately they came out with their very strict position including their views on parking space, carbon sink before consulting us.”
“They should stick to their business. The RMA’s job is monetary policy and not parking space, carbon sink etc which should be left to the government,” added the PM.
“But it seems they have already decided what is good and what is bad. Their responsibility is to implement the monetary policy and not other issues. However regarding this policy we will discuss with them in due course of time,” he added.
The PM said that whether there are loans or not depending on the financial situation is up to the banks and the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) and the government would not interfere in Monetary Policy.
The difference between the government and the RMA on the electric car also raised questions from a reporter on the apparent disconnect between the government and RMA. The PM in a hint at some sort of accommodation on the issue said that he had visited the RMA recently.
Finance Minister Namgay Dorji said the previous government has banned three items like furniture, car and alcohol and for vehicles the main reason was that the government had been spending about Nu 7 billion annually just for fuel imports. This was causing a huge trade deficit with the government of India.
He said that since it led to a lot of inconveniences the government has opened on alcohol and furniture but cars are still banned due to the fuel import issue.
“There is so much pressure on the import of fuel and so it is for this reason that the new government is initiating the electric car so that there is less pressure on the fuel,” the Finance Minister said.
The PM highlighting the benefits of the electric car said, “you don’t have to pay for fuel with the electric car, you are doing our part to contribute to our economy by reducing the deficit, reducing the trade balance we are doing our part to contribute to the environment by not polluting the environment and contributing towards brand Bhutan by driving an electric car.”