The Prime Minister informed the house on Thursday that Druk Holding and Investments is currently working on developing a GST billing software for the Bill.
The government is investing Nu 575mn to develop the software.
He said that with the GST billing software, the government is also working on developing software for the Bhutan Integrated Taxation System.
“There is a difference between GST software and the software of the Bhutan Integrated Taxation System. The GST billing software is easy to make and will be ready in around six months. But it is the software of Bhutan Integrated Taxation System which will take a longer process as it is a little complicated,” said Lyonchhen.
With the introduction of the GST Bill, the government proposed to introduce a flat seven percent GST on all goods and services imported into the country except for the exempted list and zero-rated commodities, said Lyonchhen, adding this is to broaden the tax base for fiscal sustainability.
The Prime Minister informed the house that the GST Bill had been deliberated in three Parliament sessions in India also. “We should also do that and I don’t think it will be a big problem to further deliberate the GST Bill in the next three sessions here also.”
He shared that the government had several meeting with DHI to develop the GST billing software. “If we hire a GST specialist from other country to develop the software it will cost an additional US$1,500 per day and a total of Nu 1bn for GST billing software,” he said.
As the Members of Parliament continued the third reading of GST Bill of Bhutan 2020 at the National Assembly, members shared their concerns related to the absence of a commencement date for the (GST) Bill of Bhutan 2020.
The Opposition Leader, Pema Gyamtsho (PhD), asked the government to mention a date of implementation for the Act. “If the government can mention a date when they will be in a state to implement the Act it will be good.”
He added the government will have to prepare infrastructure and equipment such as software and questioned the government that the Bill is not an immediate Bill and if it can be effective. The government can update the house on when the Act will come into force.
Likewise, the implementation of the GST bill will be delayed because the GST billing software is not ready. Members raised their concerns regarding the lack of a fixed commencement date.
In response to queries related to the fixed commencement date of the Bill at the National Assembly, the Prime Minister informed the House that the government is optimistic of commencing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill of Bhutan 2020 by July 1, 2022.
“We can bring the issues related to the Act time and again here. And if we are directed to give a commencement date, I am confident we can thoroughly implement the Act by 1st of July, 2022,” said Lyonchhen, Dr Lotay Tshering.
The House directed the Committee to discuss and report the findings and recommendations on the commencement clause considering the opinions raised in the House.
The House completed deliberation on 22 Chapters of the Bill including the recommendations submitted by the Legislative Committee.
Kinley Yonten from Thimphu