The ninth annual construction expo began in Changlingmithang, Thimphu from July 27.

The expo has more than 60 participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Singapore, and the United States.

President of Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Phub Zam, said that the expo, which started in 2009, was one of the largest gatherings of professionals, contractor and suppliers from the industry.

“It also provides a unique opportunity for the construction sector in Bhutan to come together for an invaluable day of networking and innovation,” she said.

She said that with the increase in demand for construction materials and technologies, the expo would offer contractors with varied modern technologies and products to choose from.

The exhibits include construction chemicals, concrete products, building safety equipment, lights, paints, solar energy products, plywood and timbers, iron and steel products, tiles, tools and machinery, road equipment, water treatment equipment, and various bathroom and kitchen materials, among others.

Economic Affairs Minister Lekey Dorji said that the last five years saw the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grow, about 6,000km of farm roads were constructed, started construction and reconstruction of four dzongs, and started construction of five hydropower projects. “This increase in economy and GDP has been spearheaded by the construction industry. We are trying to bring mechanisation in the construction industry.”

He said that with many industrial parks coming up in the south of the country, the expo could provide solutions to the mismatch in the labour market by making the industry attractive through mechanisation. “Currently, youth prefer to work in government sector but through such a solution, we hope that construction industry will become attractive.”

Bhutan spends about Nu 7 billion on labour import every year.

Lyonpo said that Natural Resource Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL) is transporting sand, boulders and wood products to more than 670 construction sites in Wangdue, Punakha and Thimphu alone.

Karma Cheki