Since 2009, the number of vehicles has increased by 51 percent 

Import: The lift on the ban of import of vehicles drove the State Trading Corporation of Bhutan (STCBL) to hike its profit by about 800 percent in the last six months.

Between January and June last year, the corporation earned a profit after tax of Nu 4.8M against this year’s profit of Nu 43.7M for the same period. Revenue from operation, which mainly comprise of spare parts, vehicles and accessories sales this year increased to about Nu 1B from Nu 276M last year.

Officiating CEO, Dorji Penjor said this was mainly due to the lifting of import ban on vehicles in July last year. “Although clients placed orders since July, the vehicles reached the country in November last year,” he said.

According to the company’s financial statement for January to December, revenue from spare parts of imported vehicles increased from Nu 29M in 2013 to Nu 32M last year.

While revenue from sale of Tata spare parts decreased from Nu 8.9 M to Nu 8M in the same period, revenue from sale of Eicher spare parts increased to Nu 11.6M from Nu 8M.

STCBL earned the highest from sale of imported vehicles last year, mainly Toyota. The company earned about Nu 292.8M last year, an increase by about Nu 102M. STCBL’s revenue from sale of Eicher vehicles also doubled to around Nu 50M last year.

The company’s profit after tax for the whole year in 2013 was Nu 4.5M, which shot up to Nu 7.8M last year. In the year prior to the import restriction (2012), STCBL’s profit was about Nu 9M.

This indicates that despite increase in taxes on vehicles and introduction of fuel tax, the pace at which the number of cars has been increasing in the country has not changed.

More than 8,000 cars were imported between July 2014 and July 2015, which means about 22 cars, hit the roads everyday.

According to a study carried out by the World Bank, should the present trend continue, it would take more than an hour to reach Babesa from the city centre.

As of August this year, the total number of vehicles in the country had reached 74,612. In 1980, almost two decades after the development began, there were only 700 vehicles in the country. In the next five years, it shot to 3,980, indicating an increase of 468 percent.

In 1990, the total number of vehicles were 11,916, which five years later increased by 63 percent to 19,463.

Between 2000 and 2005, vehicle number increased by 53 percent while from 2009 onwards, the rate of increase has been 51 percent.

Tshering Dorji