His Majesty graces closing ceremony of Parliament

Staff Reporter

Successfully wrapping up a historic parliamentary session that saw the Tobacco Act repealed, His Majesty The King graced the closing ceremony of the 5th Session of the Third Parliament on June 30 this week.

Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen accompanied His Majesty. Parliamentarians led by the Zhung Dratshang offered Tashi Moenlam to His Majesty The King.

The National Assembly Speaker in his concluding address expressed gratitude to His Majesty the King for travelling extensively looking after the concerns and difficulties of the people and monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country.

The Speaker also thanked the Indian government for the Buddha Statue that was gifted to Bhutan recently.

The 5th session of the Parliament deliberated on the most controversial issue of the Mines and Minerals Bill. However, the Speaker used his power under the Legislative Rules of Procedure 2017 and deferred the bill indefinitely raising many eyebrows.

The Speaker said the Bill can now be tabled as a Private Member’s Bill or Government’s Bill after six months.

Meanwhile, with the adoption of the historic Tobacco Control Amendment Bill 2021, individuals can now sell, buy and distribute tobacco and tobacco products in the country.

The government declared the Bill as an Urgent Bill following the continuous smuggling of tobacco products through the country’s porous southern border and associated threats of importing coronavirus into the country.

In addition, all goods imported from third countries will now be levied a 10 per cent Customs Duty except for betel nuts and electric fence energizers with the adoption of the Customs Duty (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Further, the National Assembly also adopted the National Council’s recommendation to retain the Customs Duty on import of betel nuts at 50 per cent and reduce the Customs Duty on electric fence energizers at zero per cent.

Meanwhile, the Parliament deferred the Goods and Services Tax 2021 to July 2022 and adopted the Amendment Bill. The Bills will now be submitted for Royal Assent.

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