Policy: A local Bhutanese socks manufacturer will supply socks to Central Schools in the country from next year.

The cost efficiencies and economy of scale of supplying local socks to the 51 Central Schools in the country, will be determined by this pilot project.

Tshesang Norlha Plant, a socks manufacturer in Hongtsho, Thimphu will manufacture and supply the socks.

The firm approached the education ministry to support their products by providing the firm with an opportunity to supply the central schools.

The ministry took this as an opportunity to facilitate the growth of the country’s local economy by encouraging local firms, minimise imports and strengthen the domestic market.

To set clear directions and guidance as to how the central schools will procure socks from the firm, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the education ministry and the firm was signed yesterday.

The agreement will also guide the ministry and the firm to enable schools to receive quality products and timely delivery of socks.

Education minister Norbu Wangchuk said that development and strengthening of the country’s economy is important. “Economic self-reliance policy is a very important national policy.”

Lyonpo pointed out that the Rupee crisis and unemployment are some of the major challenges the government faced after the current government took office in 2013. “There are many economic challenges that are yet to be solved.”

Economic challenges arise when a country’s imports are large. Bhutan exports only electricity and the revenue earned from the export is spent on fuel that is imported into the country, Lyonpo added.

Lyonpo said that the country’s imports should be reduced to solve economic challenges, for which it is important that the government and private sector work together.

Lyonpo said that it is a proud moment when the private sector in the country takes up such initiatives. There are many areas where the education ministry can support in the country’s economic development, he added.

By the 12th plan, a total of 120 Central Schools will be established in the country and about 70 percent of the students are expected to be enrolled in the Central Schools. “It is an opportunity for the firm,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo urged the firm’s owner to work hard and provide good quality socks at reasonable rates. The material of the socks will be 80 percent cotton and 20 percent spandex.

Lyonpo and officials concerned from the education and finance ministries visited the plant last month. It was found that the quality of the socks is comparable to most of the socks available in the market. The cost of the socks will be 40-50 percent less compared to imported ones.

The firm’s owner, Tshering Lhaden, 32, said that she is confident that through effort and commitment, her firm will provide socks to the schools on time without compromising the quality of the product.

“We will do whatever we can in order to provide a successful and fruitful implementation of the MoU.”

The firm was established in November last year.

Dechen Tshomo