Joint Sitting endorses nine of eleven recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee
The joint sitting endorsed nine of the 11 recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee after 52 Members voted ‘Yes’ and three Members voted ‘No’ while nine abstained from voting last Wednesday. There was a total of 64 Members present during the voting.
The two recommendations which were not endorsed are revision of guidelines for the Gewog Development Grant and establishment of sustainable trust fund for disaster management.
The remaining recommendations which were endorsed include allocation of adequate time and resources to the consultant for preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for hydropower projects; need to prepare the bill of quantity in line with the DPR and to recover excess payments made to contractors for using lower specified materials among others.
The joint sitting also endorsed all three recommendations pertaining to improvement of Public Expenditure Management System (PEMS) including assigning of a focal person to handle issues related to PEMS by other budgetary agen- cies for improvement purposes. Deliberating on the recommendations on PEMS, some of the Members expressed that besides the Bank of Bhutan (BoB), other financial institutions like Bhutan Development Bank Ltd should also be given the opportunity for managing government transactions considering its greater outreach to local communities.
The Finance Minister clarified that the BoB was doing most of the government transactions mainly because the government’s consolidated fund was maintained with the BoB. He added that while it may be possible to inte- grate the government’s system with other banks, it was still uncertain if the services could function smoothly. Nonetheless, the house asked the government to explore possibilities considering its immense benefit to Local Government institutions.
Following extensive deliberations on the implementation of status of resolution of the 7th Session of the Second Parliament on performance audit reports, the joint sitting endorsed the committee’s recommendation to explore the possibilities of entrusting National Environment Commission Secretariat (NECS) as the focal agency for Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Global Environment Facility Fund (GEFF). Some of the Members had however argued that making the NECS as the focal agency for GCF and GEFF would create precedence for other organizations in the future for similar access.
Concluding the deliberations on the report, the Speaker expressed appreciation to the Royal Audit Authority, members of the Public Accounts Committee and all other stakeholders and individuals for their contributions in making the parliamentary deliberation fruitful.