NA withdraws Impeachment Procedure Bill

No Legislative Bills passed during first session, fourth parliament

The first session of the Fourth Parliament concluded without the passage of any new legislative bills, aside from essential financial and money bills and an aviation agreement. The government has indicated that it does not plan to introduce new legislative bills this year unless a pressing need arises.

In a notable development, the National Assembly adopted the Budget Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 2024-2025. The bill passed with 42 votes in favor and 3 abstentions out of 45 members present and voting. The Budget Appropriation Bill for FY 2024-25, along with the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill for FY 2023-24, will now be submitted for Royal Assent, adhering to the rule of law.

The Finance Minister moved the motion to adopt the revised budget outlay of Nu. 97,628.839 million, following the exclusion of Nu. 25.990 million capital budget initially proposed for the Green Bhutan Corporation.

Prior to the adoption of the Budget Appropriation Bill for FY 2024-2025 and the Supplementary Budget Appropriation Bill for FY 2023-2024, the Chairperson of the Economic and Finance Committee presented a review report. The report recommended an additional budget of Nu. 140.200 million to enhance the capacity of the National Food Testing Laboratory, aimed at improving certification services for easier import and export of food products.

The National Assembly ratified the Air Services Agreement between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Government of the State of Kuwait. The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, who was in charge of the agreement, moved the motion for its ratification.

On the same day, the National Assembly adopted the Marriage (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan, 2024. The motion was moved by the Chairperson of the Legislative Committee.

Conversely, the House decided to withdraw the Impeachment Procedure Bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2024. Additionally, a motion to withdraw the recommendation to amend the Pay Structure Reform Act 2022 was proposed by the Chairperson of the House Committee, a member from the Tashichhoeling constituency. The motion was accepted, with the rationale that the government is already addressing the issues outlined in the proposed amendment.

During the session, the House witnessed a highly active question hour, with 50 oral and nine written questions posed, a record number for a single session according to the Deputy Speaker.

Looking ahead, the government plans to table the Tax Amendment Bill in the winter session to support private sector development and economic growth. Efforts to improve existing policies and formulate new ones will continue as previously mentioned.

By Sangay Rabten, Thimphu