Govt. will pass the 12th Plan budget next year: PM

For this, the government will have to convene a summer session of National Assembly in 2018

The government might need to convene a 11th sitting of National Assembly (NA) around May or June next year if resolved by the Speaker and Members of Parliament (MPs), said Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay during Meet The Press session yesterday.

This was in response to Business Bhutan’s question on the dynamics of passing the budget for the next Five Year Plan (FYP). Calculating from the first sitting of NA in August 2, 2013, which means the government will dissolve on August 2 next year, if PDP does not come back to power in the 2018 elections, how would the 12th Plan work out since the budget can be passed only in the summer session?

However, the Election Commission of Bhutan had notified earlier that the National Council (NC) elections would possibly be held by February to May 2018 and the lower house elections held by August to October next year.

“We may need a 11th sitting of the NA, which should take place around May or June next year,” said Lyonchhen, adding that it is the government’s responsibility to pass the budget for the financial year 2018-19 which happens to be first year of the 12th plan.

“By this logic it is the government’s responsibility to pass the plan, the budget and the budget for the first year of the 12th plan,” said Lyonchhen mentioning that it is up to the MPs and Speaker of the assembly to decide.

“But this issue needs to be resolved,” said Lyonchhen.

Lyonchhen questioned about the consequences if the summer session is not held and the budget not passed.

He mentioned that the Constitution does not state that the summer session cannot be convened.

“But it does envision a situation where if the budget is not passed, the recurring expenditure of the previous budget will kick in automatically for that particular year,” said Lyonchhen, adding that the government can continue to function.

However, Lyonchhen said that for the 12th FYP what happens after the elections is for the government of the day to deal with and to execute.

“As far as we are concerned, our job is to finalize the 12th plan including raising resources. We do not want to hand over the next government a mess in terms of resources mobilization.”

According to Lyonchhen, the ruling government wants to ensure that the next government, whoever it may be, will have a good plan to consider because they will adopt it. “Although they will take over at the end of October or November they will not have to worry about plans and resources,” he said.

Lyonchhen said that for the 11th Plan, the government was formed towards the end of July 2013. By then, the plan was supposed to be finalized but it was not and resources were not mobilized.

“But I am happy we overcame all the constraints and delays,” said Lyonchhen.

Lyonchhen concluded that the government will complete the 11th plan not only successfully “but we are going to overachieve most of the targets”.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu