Construction: The economic affairs ministry will establish an exhibition centre in Changzamtok in Thimphu to display construction materials manufactured in the country, to promote local construction materials and reduce imports.

The establishment of the centre is also expected to enhance export of local materials.

The trade department with the economic affairs ministry invites interested construction material manufacturers in the country to register with the department to showcase their products in the centre.

Besides construction materials like steel, cement and wood items, among others, the centre will also display minerals that are available in the country.

Detailed information about the sample products and contact addresses of the manufacturers will also be available along with the samples at the centre so that interested buyers have easy access for local consumption as well as for export.

The export promotion division’s chief trade officer, Zecko said that the department is yet to furnish the centre with racks for the samples. The department is also in the process of collecting samples from across the country.

Till date, some 21 entrepreneurs and industrialists have registered with the department to display their sample products in the exhibition centre.

The exhibition centre is expected to start in the beginning of next year.

Staff with the trade department will operate the centre, which will be open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

Zecko said that despite having many companies manufacturing construction materials in the country, people import the materials from outside the country.

“We have construction materials like steel, wood items, plumbing materials available within the country but people are not aware of that,” he said.

Because of this, people import, he added. And some people prefer the imported materials because of a price difference of about Nu 1 or Nu 2 between the imported and locally produced materials. “They are being overshadowed by the price,” he said.

However, he said that the buyers would not know if the imported materials are of  better quality because they don’t know the composition of the material.

Zecko said that, today, if a buyer needs to buy gravel for flooring, it is difficult to know the specifications of gravel for flooring. The buyer has to call a construction company and learn what size of gravel is required for the purpose.

With the exhibition centre in place, interested buyers will have better choices and also better knowledge about the construction materials manufactured in the country. The buyer can visit the centre and learn what type of material is required for a particular construction purpose, he added.

Zecko said that having the centre will also help reduce the import of construction materials and mobilise local resources. “If our products do well in domestic market, it has potential for export.”

The department is also planning to have a product brochure for the visitors so that the buyers can directly call the company and procure the material as and when they require it.

Zecko said that the ministry had the strategy to establish an exhibition centre for display of samples of construction materials manufactured in the country in the 11th Plan. The establishment was deferred to 2018 because the department was engaged in other projects.

However, the Prime Minister directed the economic affairs ministry to come up with a proposal to establish the centre after the business community consisting of entrepreneurs and industrialists requested the Prime Minister to establish the centre.

The construction of the centre costs about Nu 4.7 million (M). About Nu 2.7M will be allocated for furnishing the centre and to mobolise and collect samples from across the country.

The division’s trade officer, Dawa Zangmo, said that the department had informed the interested manufacturers in the country to register with the department through the media, including local television channels in the dzongkhags.

“We have also called both small and large industries that were registered with the ministry,” Dawa Zangmo said. “They have shown interest to showcase their products.”

Dechen Tshomo