Thimphu property owners to pay substantially more taxes  

Thimphu Thromde’s performance under par

Recent findings by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) saw the Thimphu Thromde administration marred with loopholes and deficiencies, sub standardizing the performance of the Thromde in more ways than one.

Service delivery of the Thromde was found to be affected due to inadequacies in monitoring and evaluation, coordination between relevant divisions and sections, and customer care and complaints redressal system. RAA’s review of some of the services delivered showed opportunities for improvement in terms of meeting prescribed targets.

According to the RAA, the recruitment of employees was not regulated as per the 12th FYP staffing strength and the transfer of employees was not affected based on criteria for transfer. There were also inadequacies in monitoring and supervision of attendance of field employees.

The RAA observed non-enforcement of the Workforce Rules and Regulations 2020 besides inadequacies in planning and monitoring of overtime work and payments, and some shortcomings in complying with occupational safety requirements.

There were backlashes in planning and prioritization of infrastructure development impacting the delivery of services and issues of quality of the infrastructures developed.

The revenue management system of Thromde lacked appropriate controls resulting in inconsistent data like incomplete tax payer’s database, inconsistent land records, tax obligations and actual collections etc,.. undermining the integrity of the system. There were instances of non-compliances to the directives of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in regulating the acquisition of vehicles and inadequacies in the control and management of the fleet of pool vehicles.

The RAA noted inadequacies in budgeting and financial management including revenue management systems undermining sustainability, prudence and efficiency. Cases of misuse of revenue amounting to Nu 7.99 million (M) were observed besides delays in deposits of revenue attracting a penalty of Nu 5.36M. There were instances of short collection of revenues in the form of concessionary fees from the two multi-level car parking and outstanding revenues receivable from the parties.

It has been found that the Thromde has not been able to address substantial non-revenue water entailing a huge revenue loss of about Nu 14.09M based on the current production capacity. Lack of comprehensive data on households, standardized water pipeline, and unregulated water tapping sources posed challenges to efficient water management and revenue collection, amongst others.

In managing waste, the RAA observed issues of exhausted capacity of current landfill sites, unscientific waste disposal practices, and lack of infrastructure and diffusion of responsibility in managing the waste. Based on the aforementioned audit findings, the RAA provided thirteen recommendations to initiate corrective actions.

Thimphu Thromde was recommended to strengthen its human resource development and management besides improving internal control systems in managing its revenues. “Thromde should ensure reconciliations of differences of revenues and receipts as reflected under specific observations”, the RAA highlighted.

The Thromde was mandated to restitute the total amount of Nu 45.08M on account revenue loss due to misuse, the penalty for the late deposit, outstanding concessionaire fee, and outstanding revenue.

Through a clear standard operating procedure (SOP), the Thromde should improve its service delivery while working towards reducing non-revenue water. Thimphu Thromde should maintain a comprehensive inventory of sewerage connections of buildings and houses.

Infrastructure development and maintenance services must be strengthened with robust monitoring and supervision in place, while waste management by Thimphu Thromde needs to be strengthened in collaboration with the waste management authorities and private waste management firms.

Strict enforcement of rules and regulations must be ensured by Thimphu Thromde on illegal structures and illegal encroachment of State land. Further, the IT systems were needed to be integrated and ensured proper controls to enhance data integrity and consistency besides cleaning the data in the systems. Thimphu Thromde should improve the on-street and off-street vehicle parking regulation and management, and should institute controls for managing its vehicles.

The audit was carried out covering the FY 2018-2020 with the objectives to assess the efficiency and effectiveness in the management systems and processes in the operation of Thimphu Thromde, and to assess the efficiency and effectiveness in providing services to Thromde residents.

Meanwhile, during the FY 2022-23, the RAA issued three performance audit reports, which are Performance Audit Reports on Irrigation Systems, Cyber Security and Operations, and Management of Thimphu Thromde. The two Performance Audit Reports on Irrigation Systems and Cyber Security were tabled during the 8th and 9th Session of the Third Parliament respectively. The Performance Audit on Operations and Management of Thimphu Thromde was issued later on.

By Tashi Namgyal, Thimphu