NA rejects budget recommendation for school stationeries

MP from Athang Thedtsho and the Chairperson of the Economic and Finance Committee Kinley Wangchuk

Sangay Rabten

The members of National Assembly did not accept the recommendation made by the Economic and Finance Committee to dedicate the recurrent budget as a capital budget and use for only for mentioned purpose on Thursday.

The National Budget for the financial year 2021-2022 has allocated a separate budget of Nu 336 million recurrent expenditure to be used for procuring school stationery.

In a review report the Economic and Finance Committee of the National Assembly recommended the government to dedicate the recurrent budget as a capital budget and use it only for the said purpose.

However, most of the Members of the Parliament did not accept the recommendation.

In a budget re-appropriation review, the Economic and Finance Committee has found that while it is a commendable initiative to allocate a separate budget for the school stationeries amounting to Nu. 336 million for the FY 2021-2022, the ground issue is such that the allocated budgets for the school stationeries remain insufficient due to re-appropriation.

“Considering the fact that education needs utmost importance, the committee recommended that the budget should be made dedicated under a capital head and be regulated strictly for the said purpose only,” the review states.

While the MPS appreciated the government’s extra effort to allocate separate recurrent expenditure for school stationeries for students, however, most said that not every student needs aid to buy stationeries.

Sombaykha MP Dorjee Wangmo said that needy students should be identified and funds can be used for providing laptops to teachers.

Gangzur_Minjey MP Kinga Penjor said that it should be looked at the problems in rural and school and use budget as per the convenience. However, he recommended a proper guideline from the finance ministry for the budget usage.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said that to re-appropriate recurrent budget as capital budget would not be as per the rule and the school administration cannot use it as per their need.

Kinley Wangchuk, the Chairperson of the Economic and Finance Committee said, “The Committee respect that the recurrent budget can’t be changed into capital. But the committee still has a concern about it that it could be diverted. So the education ministry could send out a separate circular to all that the Nu 336 M be used solely for stationery.”

The Committee in the end asked if the government could at least notify dzongkhags and gewogs to use the budget allocated solely for the said purpose.

The National budget for the financial year 2021-2022 if adopted will be referred to the National Council for further deliberation.