English | Dzongkha Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Direct award of dredging work deprives Government Nu 300M in revenue: Audit Report 2019

Aug 8, 2020

The Annual Audit Report 2019 found that the government was deprived of close to Nu 300M additional revenue due to direct award of the surface collections and dredging of riverbed materials to private parties.

The report recommends a review of the legality of dredging to ensure financial gain. The audit was carried out between 2015 and 2018 in Gomtu, Phuentsholing and Samtse.

As per the report, despite the revenue forgone, the direct award also deprived competition and fair opportunity to the citizens who are trustees of state resources. The Department of Forests and Park Services had directly awarded the surface collections and dredging of riverbed materials to 33 individuals and private parties without resorting to auction to Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited, NRDCL.

The report also found that there were inconsistencies in compliance with applicable laws and regulations in its operations and inadequacy of legal and policy instruments. For instance, the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules and Regulations had included dredging of stone, sand, boulder and use of excavator resulting in the extensive use of excavators for surface collections and uncontrolled surface collection of riverbed materials and huge quantities of export.

The extraction increased from 41,488 metric tonnes in 2015 to 1,962,015 metric tonnes in 2018 due to increased export. The report mentions that if the extraction of riverbed material continues at the same trend, sustainability and environment safety remain uncertain.

The report also revealed that the revision of forest and nature conservation rules and regulations was carried out without proper consultation with relevant stakeholders like Department of Geology and Mines, National Environment Commission and Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited, NRDCL thereby receiving undue policy benefit and exploiting at the cost of state resources.

The report also found there was a lack of coordination among relevant agencies in the governance, management and operation of surface collections and dredging of riverbed materials. Most agencies were functioning in silos leading to problems like issue of clearances and record keeping.

The report recommends enhancing proper coordination, monitoring and supervision between and amongst relevant authorities and harmonizing conflicting provisions in the existing regulations governing the surface collection, dredging and export of riverbed materials.

Sonam Pem

Leave a Reply

+ 5 = eight

Copyright © 2020 BBSC.