Budget for 2013-14 presented

Finance Minister Namgay Dorji presents budget
Finance Minister Namgay Dorji presents budget. Photo: National Assembly of Bhutan

Delayed by two and half months, the new government has finally unveiled the annual budget for the fiscal year 2013-14 on Tuesday, 17 September.

Finance Minister Namgay Dorji presented a total of Nu 34.2 billion estimates for the year giving highest priority to education. The education sector received Nu 6.8 billion share.

The budget for the education ministry will be spent to expand educational infrastructures and establishing integrated special education centres for the special needs among others.

With increased budget, the government plans to provide 950 scholarships to pursue higher education within and outside Bhutan during the year.

Similarly, agriculture ministry receives Nu. 4.1 billion and the new government wants to spend Nu. 3.4 billion in road infrastructure.

Election commission against demand of Nu. 383 million gets only Nu. 40.25m while Anti-Corruption Commission receives Nu. 99.5m against Nu. 51m demanded.

The government, however, failed to abide by its pledge to increase the sally of the government employees, unemployment allowances and black topping of the existing village roads.

The government expects to finance 15 percent of capital expenditure from domestic revenue in the first year of the 11th Five Year Plan.

Domestic revenue through taxes, fees, royalties and hydropower earnings is projected at Nu 21.8b and domestic expenditure is projected at Nu 19.1b leaving a surplus of Nu 2.7b to cover Nu 2.5b capital expenditure.

The other 85 percent of the capital expenditure will be financed through aid and grants.

Recurrent expenditure has increased from the last fiscal because of increasing maintenance costs on public infrastructure, establishing of new government departments and divisions, and provisions of stipend for boarding schools, gradual phasing out of World Food programme, subsidies provided to the Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan Broadcasting Service and Bhutan Post.

Prior to the presentation of the budget, parliament members deliberated on the development plans they want in their constituencies.

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