STAFF REPORTER | Thimphu
Even after two and half months of the Civil Service Reform Bill coming into force and completion of all the re-structuring and re-organization exercises, there are still ten ministers with only nine ministries. Hence, the Opposition urged the government to reduce one minister immediately.
The Opposition pointed out that the government is dragging its feet to reduce the number of ministers.
In a press release by the Opposition on 3 March, it states, “The government is irresponsible and shows a blatant disregard for the law by taking an unduly long time to reduce the number of ministers in conformity to the number of ministries.”
The Opposition stated that this is not only against the compelling objective and earnest spirit of the civil reform and Civil Service Reform Act 2022 but also in contravention of the Constitution.
It also cited that as per Article 20(2) of the Constitution stipulates that the number of ministers shall be determined by the number of ministries, and that creation of an additional ministry or reduction of any ministry shall be approved by the Parliament.
The reduction of the number of ministries from ten to nine was approved by His Majesty the King granting Royal Assent to the Civil Service Reform Bill 2022 on 15 December 2022 in the last Parliament Session. “Accordingly, the new ministries and corresponding number of ministers should have legally come into effect from this date, the press release states.
However, the Opposition says that even after two and half months of the Act coming into force and completion of all the re-structuring and re-organization exercises there are nine ministries with ten ministers. It further states that the Opposition is of the view that the lack of clarity on ministerial delegation is already hampering the functioning of some ministries and agencies.
This inaction or delay is in fact in complete contrast to the repeated commitments and assurances provided by the Government to the public, in particular, to reduce the number of ministers on the very day the Act comes into force.
“The public deserves explanations from the Government. There must be responsibility, accountability, and transparency in the conduct of government affairs. We urge the Government to respect the law, put national interests over party interests, and in particular, reduce one minister immediately,” the Opposition said.
Meanwhile, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering during the 48th meet the press on 20 January shared that four ministers including the prime minister have reportedly proposed to step down. The prime minister said that a decision is yet to be reached on which particular minister will step down.
Foreign minister, Dr Tandi Dorji has proposed to step down followed by the minister for agriculture and livestock, Yeshey Penjor, Home minister Ugyen Dorji and minister for information and communications, Karma Donnen Wangdi.
The proposal to surrender the ministerial portfolio was even made by the minister for labour and human resources, Karma Dorji according to the prime minister. However, the prime minister shared that the labour minister is not included in the list.
The PM offered to step down as he holds the position of party president and did not get to visit constituencies and gewogs to connect with people being the head of the government.
Meanwhile, the foreign minister proposed to step down and get more time to indulge in the party affairs while the home minister felt he should be one to step down as he is the youngest minister in the cabinet.
Justifications from other proposing ministers were to concentrate on their constituencies after stepping down.
The prime minister also said it will not take too long to make a decision. However, it has been more than a month since prime minister said this.
Till then, the question of who and which minister will eventually step down still remains a mystery.