According to General Secretary of Association of Bhutanese Industries, it is just the ferrosilicon industry that is doing well.
“As you might be aware, the rates for the ferrosilicon are very good in the market, so only the ferrosilicon business is going well. Rest of the industries are still trying to recover their businesses from the pandemic,” said the General Secretary Pema Namgyel Galey.
He further added, “ Our biggest obstacle right now is the shortage of manpower. There are many other industries, like food and beverages, PET preform, polythene business, wood based industries, etc., these are not doing well. It is difficult to say that they are in the process of ‘recovering’. Larger industries are still feeling the burnt of the pandemic. Due to the inflation the cost of raw materials has increased drastically, not only in Bhutan but also in India. So essentially, even if the industries are importing the raw materials from India, the cost of production is quite high.”
However, the Officiating Director General (DG) of Department of Industry, MoEA, Tashi Dorji, said that the Bhutanese industries are in the process of rebounding from the effects of the pandemic.
“Thankfully all the COVID-19 and travel restrictions are being undone. With the restrictions gone, importation of labour and construction materials can now normally resume. Also, the driver switching mode has been lifted, significantly reducing the transportation costs. Now, all activities have resumed normally, so compared to the pandemic times the situation should improve,” said the Officiating DG.
The Officiating DG also said that it was only natural that the cost of raw materials has gone up.
“Obviously the prices of almost all commodities have gone up, particularly due to increase in fuel and transportation charges and inflation. Also the Ukraine-Russian conflict also played its part increasing its costs. If the prices of export have increased, our people will not be affected much, but increase in transportation and production costs will lead to pricier goods and services for the common people in Bhutan,” he added.
The President of BCCI, Tandi Wangchuk, said that most of the industries have resumed their operations currently, but the pandemic has adversely affected most of the industries in Bhutan.
“During the pandemic times, movement restrictions proved to be a hindrance to the Bhutanese industries. Importation of materials, laborers, services, etc., were hampered and most industries could not operate normally. But even after the restrictions have been lifted, it will still take a while for the industries to recoup their losses since our industries have taken a heavy economic hit. Another major challenge we are facing right now is while giving incentives to compete with the import of goods,” said the President.
He also said that it will take 2 full years, at the least, to really negate the ill-effects of the pandemic, and fully recover for most of the industries.