Update on fifth session

The National Assembly’s draft agenda for the fifth session of the Parliament was distributed yesterday. The Assembly will discuss the Water Bill, Financial Services Bill, Disaster Management Bill, and the Annual Budget 2010-2011.

The joint sitting of the Parliament will meet to discuss and endorse the Tobacco Control Bill, RMA (Ammendment) Bill, Standards Bill, and Service Conditions Bill for Constitutional Offices. In addition, the prime minister will report on the State of the Nation.

Please keep sharing your comments on these bills. And, don’t forget to check the National Assembly’s website periodically to see if new bills have been uploaded.

 

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  1. Tangba says:

    Honorable OL,
    Do you think you are doing the right thing for the nation and its people? Don’t you think you are joining hands with a criminal to make and change the laws before the criminal is acquitted of any wrong doings by a court of law?
    You are very much aware like all of us that this government had contravened our Constitution. It is not a constitutionally and therefore a legally justified government. Now you are trying to discuss bills with them.I think we must first justify this government is a Constitutionally justified government to rule this nation or not before we proceed to discuss any bills. We must file the case of CDG to the Supreme Court and wait for its verdict before anything is done. If not, firstly it is a blatant abuse and disrespect of our Constitution. Secondly, every people of Bhutan and hence the future government has the right to reject all the bills and laws passed by this government because it was an un-Constitutional government in the first place. I don’t think any reasonable man will accept the laws made by a criminal.
    What do you say?

  2. Youngba says:

    From the past Assembly session whatever agenda is drafted, it was found that ‘salary and entitlements of MPs’ came up as ad hoc agenda for discussion at the end, deciding without much deliberations. It is no surprise to us that the fifth session too will see the trend.

    Let us look back at the past sessions. Most of the people know that the present government did not bring any significant changes in the country. I personally feel MPs jobs do not end by passing of Bills and enact legislation. The past sessions were full of Bills and Acts only. Don’t you think we are passing too many of Bills and Acts? Already there are many of them failing at many stages, predominantly at the implementation level.

    Instead they should be coordinating with relevant agencies on how the past legislation failed to address issues and work on provision that needs necessary alterations. I am sure there are enough Acts and Bills that were passed and each MPs can take up one to review it. Conduct research and studies, organise and plan, coordinate with ministries and agencies and work on implementation.

    I doubt the above Bills were even looked at once by our MPs which is scheduled for discussion.

  3. skeptic says:

    Good that the NA will be passing many bills and Acts. Our history tells us that we are good at passing and endorsing but not at implementation. So, I hope while discussing there will be more focus on the implementation and enforcement part of all these Acts and Bills. Hope no more agencies with scores of “Inspectors” will have to be formed to implement those Acts.

  4. What exactly do you mean by “…. passed by this government because it was an un-Constitutional government in the first place”?

    What is your argument for calling this government an unconstitutional government?

  5. Guest, please go and read the chain of comments on “Dasho Damcho of LG” in this blog and then share us your views.
    Cheers.

  6. Tangba, I do not need to be told by “Dasho Damcho of LG” to form my views. What I would like you to tell me is simple: What is your argument in support of your charge that our government is unconstitutional.

  7. Lobxang says:

    Dear OL,
    Looking at the scarce response on the Bills, it appears that are not many too keen people to give feedbacks.
    May be the people of Bhutan are too busy with their lives. May be they are not interested. May be they have no knowledge at all about what’s going on around the political sphere of small Bhutan.
    With no responses from the people, the bills will pass indefinitely.

    This calls for a strong Opposition Party to make sure the Bills are indeed in favor of the people, to watch over the people that they are not cheated.
    Though it’s amendable in future parliamentary sessions, it still is too risky for the innocent or otherwise ignorant people of Bhutan that a Bill is passed unchecked.

    At this point, it looks like the people need to be educated and informed of the Bills that are about to be discussed and passed.

    The media; Radio, television and the papers can play a major role in informing the people about what’s about to happen?

    It would also help if the draft Bills were distributed to schools and colleges.

    • @ Lobxang: yes, we need to involve more people in the preparation of legislation. We need to inform people about bills that will be discussed in Parliament. And we need to seek their views.

  8. hero with 1eye says:

    OL.where is pay rise bill for MPs.you are hiding because you too benefits from DPTs generous decision for themselves…..

    • @herowith 1eye: the pay raise bill for MPs is not in the draft agenda. I still maintain that we cannot discuss entitlements of public servants (especially of MPs) if the proposal has not originated from the Pay Commission.

  9. superman 000 says:

    MPS stands for Miles Per Second…. when i say this, it does not meant, walking capability of MPS but their competency/desire to raise PAY Miles Per Second…. o.l you are also included in it because you are silent on this issue. you don’t have to inform us through your blog because we know it la la…….. ha ha ha ha how is that…. i have to walk miles per second to get few thousands in the most remotest part of our country. where dogs have farewell never to return forget our youth. yes i love serving the rural friends though my income is minimum compared to Mps. Mps,learn to say enough and i have great hope that you would discard idea of pay rise….
    acts are important, more then these implementation is very important…., MPS are doing great but constant pay rise is very bad la.. thank you la la la

  10. Yangzom says:

    Honorable OL,
    What is your stand on THE CIVIL SERVICE BILL and the independence of the Constitutional bodies. Do you think they should be delinked?

    Thank you la!

  11. haha…

    having laughed, pay raise is still important to the MPs, why not include in the agenda. oh, it’s just draft as of now…

    and OL, i would recommend changing your profile picture. you somehow look like that Big Brother from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four…

  12. teewang says:

    respected ol,
    where and what is PDP doing now…..i guess being bhutanese PDP too is waiting for last moment to come….all the best

    • @teewang. Ex candidates and party supporters met last Sunday. I’m quite happy at the outcome of the meeting. Our executive committee meets regularly to discuss issues and guide the party. It will be increased to allow more people to participate actively in the party. We will work harder towards strengthening the PDP, not to prepare for 2013, but because a strong PDP is an absolute necessity for an effective opposition.

  13. Little off topic, but I found the following news on businessbhutan website.
    Now the private sector can give better salaries to its employees, increase its entertainment expenses and if the government ceiling on advertisements are raised, local newspapers will benefit
    Following concerns raised by the private sector on advertisements, entertainment and salary ceilings the government has taken measures to benefit the sector.

    Ceilings on entertainment and salary have been reviewed, according to the newly released Fiscal Incentives 2010.

    The ceiling on advertisement spending by private firms is still under review.

    The ceiling on entertainment expense has been raised from 2% to 5% of the assessed net profit as requested by the private sector and the salary ceilings for four different categories of the private sector have been revised upwards though lesser than the proposed figure.

    “We are still in the process of reviewing the advertisement ceiling and it will be increased,” said the finance secretary, Lam Dorji.

    The secretary general of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Phub Tshering said the three ceilings were the main impediments straining the private sector today. He said the private sector is also eager for a response on the advertisement ceiling to be raised to 5% as proposed.

    The new measure by the government also means that the Income Tax Act of 2001 has to be revised which mandates the ceilings and reinforces penalties otherwise.

    Before the revision, a business house was not allowed to spend more than 2% of its net profit and if it exceeded the ceiling was fined a 30% additional tax on the exceeded amount.

    The new salary ceilings for two categories of large and medium industries have been raised from Nu 30,000 to Nu 50,000 and from Nu 20,000 to Nu 40,000 respectively. The new ceiling amount is lower than Nu 70,000 for large industries and Nu 50,000 for medium industries proposed by the private sector.

    However, for small industries and cottage/micro industries, the new ceiling is more than that proposed by the private sector. It has been increased from Nu 15,000 to Nu 30,000 for small and Nu 5,000 to Nu 20,000 for cottage/micro industries.

    An official of finance ministry said the ceiling for smaller industries has been raised more than the proposed amount according to the government’s initiative to prioritize the small and cottage industries.

    However, the deduction shall be allowed only for those units maintaining proper books of accounts and declaring the salary income under the personal income tax. The deduction will be effective from income year 2010.

    In the past, a company paying more than the ceiling amount was fined an additional tax of 30% on the amount paid over the ceiling.

    Even on the advertisement ceiling, a penalty of 30% additional tax was imposed on the exceeded amount. The private sector say the ad ceiling is unfairly restricting them to market themselves in a competitive market.

    “Government must be flexible on the ceiling on the advertisement and must review as soon as possible,” said one of the marketing head of a corporation.

    Today, more than 80% of the ads in the market come from the government making the media almost completely dependent on the government for survival.

    In the past, the government had a single rationale for imposing all three ceilings – to encourage businesses to incorporate and maintain proper book of accounts to refine the whole taxation system.

    Of about 27,000 business licenses active today, only about 100 are incorporated and maintain proper book of accounts. The remaining 26,000 businesses involving about 68,000 people say saw the three ceilings with disdain

    Frankly I find it rediculous, government should not tell how much the private sector should pay their employees. This is not dictator ship. Private sector should be allowed to pay their employees depending on how much they are worth.
    On the other hand everyone should have a say on how much MPs and gups should be paid, since it comes from tax payers money. In Bhutan it is other way round.

  14. Truth

    Well, in my opinion, I think there is some logic in making reasonable ceiling for the private sector employee’s salary as some shrewd business people may try to evade the tax by inflating their own salary. It will not benefit the actual employees in private sector but rather employers will inflate their own salary substantially high to show high expenditure and thus no tax for the government!

  15. teewang says:

    respect Ol,
    thank you very much for your update…i had to raise that question because i am a big time PDP follower….i wish you and PDP all the best and may PDP .shine

  16. YP Phuntshok says:

    Honourable OL,
    Thank you for providing this opportunity where in we can share some of our thoughts. Frankly speaking, I came to know that you are blogger only when I came to attend your talk at Lit. Fest. at Tarayana Centre.
    This is the for the first time that I interact with you. Although, I sometimes make it a point to share some of my thoughts on NC website, it takes long long time before it is published. I hope it is a different case on your blog.
    Let me congratulate you and your lone colleague for the wonderful job that you have been carrying out for the last two and half years. Hope you will continue with the same spirit. We have our unconditional support with you la.
    I have many many topics and issues that I wanted to discuss here, but if I go on writing lengthy issues, viewers/readers might get bored. So let me mention only few of them:
    1. I strongly feel that CDG should be revoked as it is unconstitutional and it only help the sitting MPs gain a political milage. Please do all you can to stop this unconstitutional business. If not 100%, 99.9% of Bhutanese are against it.
    2. Bhutanese have seen that during every session of Parliament ever since this Govt. came in, Pay/Perks& Privileges of MPs have always been on the agenda. I dont know how far it is true, I came to learn that Govt is again going to discuss on the same issue this time. I as a concerned citizen would like to request Hon’ble OL, please, try and stop this from happening. Rather Govt should be deliberating on the following issues which grossly affect the lives of Bhutanese citizens:
    a/ Wage for National Work Force
    b/ Price rise
    c/ International border dispute with China,which should be immediately solved.
    d/ Rise in house rent especially in towns/Thimphu and effective implementation of Tenants Act
    e/ Employment and youth related problems
    f/ Poverty related problems especially in rural Bhutan …….etc……
    Thats all for this time…….I will definitely write and bring some more issues next time.
    Thank you OL. May you continue to contribute towards Tsa-Wa-Sum.

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