INR: That Bhutan should export more to ease the shortage of Indian Rupee (INR) is evident from the export performance of the industry sector.

Last year, about 34 industries exported goods worth Rs 11.5 B and another USD 48B to India and third countries. But after deducting the expenses on import of raw materials, the net INR inflow generated last year was Rs 3.7B and the net inflow of hard currency was about USD 33M.

In 2013 net INR inflow from these industries was Rs 6.8B and net hard currency inflow was USD 24M.

This, the general secretary of Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI), Jochu Thinley said could be probably because of good market in India in 2013. “But in 2014, export to third countries had picked up,” he said adding there are multiple factors affecting this market trend.

Another industrialist said the SD eastern Bhutan coal company Ltd. witnessed a decline in export to India from Rs 724M to 12.8M. But that should be looked in a positive light as SD sale in the domestic market increased from none in 2013 to Nu 729M last year because of huge demand from Dungsam.

The annual turn over of select 34 industries was Nu 20B last year which is almost equivalent to the turn over of some 31 industries in 2013.

Jochu Thinley said there are many industries that did not submit their financial performances. “Otherwise the contribution would have been much higher,” he said.

Another member from the ABI said some “big sharks” did not disclose their figures.

After the tariff revision in October 2013 and another two progressive revision since July last year and this year, industrialists complained that the revised domestic power tariff would eat into their profits and would force some of them to shut down.

Asked if it has affected their business, industrialists assert that the figures disclosed were just on account of revenue earned and thus cannot be correlated with the implication of electricity tariff.

“Although it is certain that there are implications of tariff revision, but exact figure would be known only by comparing annual profits of these companies,” he said.

Meanwhile, the general secretary said industries contribute much more than hydro and tourism sectors.

In case of hydro, he said, the average INR earning was about Rs 11B, of which more than Nu 7B goes out in paying the loans. “Employment generation is very less in hydropower. But these industries has generated about some 3,282 employment for nationals and 578 non-nationals as of last year,” he said.

The secretary general said for every one direct employment there are about four indirect employment created. For instance, workshops and restaurants come up because of the industries.

About 24 percent of the country’s export is ferro silicon. Officials said if they include other products from these industries, the country’s export from manufacturing sector could be much higher.    

The sector also contributed about Nu 1.3B in taxes to the government, which is an increase of about Nu 300M compared with 2013.

By Tshering Dorji