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First Question Hour of the 22nd Session

Posted on :09 January 2019

The first Question Hour of the 22nd session was conducted in the afternoon of the 4th sitting with the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Dr. Lotey Tshering and the Minister for Information and Communication Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi.

Outlining a brief background on the growing concern of the income and wealth gap between the rich and poor or have and have not in the Coutnry, Hon. Member Karma Tshering raised question on the tax redistributive measures adopted by the government to reduce the growing income and wealth gap in our country; and the government’s tax reform timeline to make taxes more progressive and when would the government institute luxury and inheritance taxes.

Appreciating the concerns raised by the National Council, the Hon. Prime Minister responded that the current government is emphasizing in reducing the gap by reviewing the prevailing taxes and tax bands to ensure the wealthiest Bhutanese do not pay less than hard working middle class to bridge the gap and sustain the economy. He stressed that they will consider instituting progressive taxes and benefit systems as part of strategy to narrow the gap. They will also adopt appropriate tax policies and consider instituting luxury and inheritance taxes.

Recognizing the importance of tax reform, the Hon. Prime Minister informed that the government sought advice from experts and they were of the view that the government would probably be able to introduce the reform in the next summer session.

Subsequently, Hon. Member Ugyen Namgyel raised question on the plans and strategies to improve network coverage of Bhutan Broadcasting Service television and radio across the country.

In response, Hon. Minister for MoIC Karma Donnen Wangdi informed the House that the government is trying to expand information and communication services throughout the country especially in the rural and remote places. Further he informed that the plans and programmes are in place to provide effective services and the people need to invest little amount on the set top box and dish TV for uninterrupted network.

Responding to the question raised by Hon. Sangay Dorji on mobile network connection issues in some communities, the Hon. Minister informed that the government is putting effort to improving the mobile communication facilities and services in those communities. He also reported that the government will have connected additional 18 gewogs with mobile connectivity through the Rural Connectivity Programme by the end of 2019.

The session concluded with the Hon. Thrizin thanking the officials from GNHC and the leaders of local government from Paro and Haa Dzongkhag for attending the 4th sitting of the House.

Tomorrow, the House will continue to deliberate on the 12 FYP.

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