Foreign exchange accounts and postal ballots for the Bhutanese living abroad
The member from Boomdeling-Jamkhar MP Dupthob questioned the Minister for Foreign Affairs during question and answer session last Friday on the Bhutanese residing abroad as they have always been requesting for the facilities to be able to keep a foreign exchange account in the local banks and to be able to send postal ballots during the next election. He asked the status of the government’s action on the request.
In response to the ques- tion Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that there are many Bhutanese who works outside the country and there are problems too but when they work outside they acquired experience and exposure.
He further said that the foreign currency is very important for Bhutan.
When it comes to the problem, he added that the government is looking it. Besides that, they have also talked with Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA).
In general there is not much of problem if the Bhutanese wish to open their account in Bhutan but the problem exist that when they depositing in USD and taking out in same currency. He further said that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan clearly says that this is not allowed.
Lyonpo said that the problem there will be danger in foreign exchange reserve and if the foreign currency that is deposited is taken back in same currency then there will be great loss for the country.
He further said that in Bhutan, there would be also problems of money laundering.
Lyonpo also said that government is still in talk with the RMA and the solution to solve the problems is going on. He added that they are looking to the solutions and said that if the solution does not work then the constitution needs to be changed, but still then the government is discussing with regard to the issues.
Replying on the queries with regard to the postal ballots Lyonpo said that there exist problems of sending postal ballot from the people who are working abroad as they cannot come for the vote.
He said that, first of all we have to go according to the election act and secondly the power is not in the hand of government as it will be decided by the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB).
He said that if the rule has to be changed then the expenditure incurred will be high and the discussion with the ECB is going on. Still then it is very important not only for the people who are working outside but also within Bhutan. He added that if private employees are also provided to vote then all will be able to participate in voting.