Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

In an effort to modernise market, encourage e-commerce and skills development among the business community, the Department of Trade (DoT) held a two-day workshop in Punakha, which ended on December 11.

Only those with a dealership licence would be allowed to import and distribute goods within the country, according to a proposal from the Department of Trade (DoT).

DoT officiating director Rinchen Lhazom, said that the proposal was to strengthen the distribution system, by addressing on who and how a business owner would be allowed to source construction materials and goods from the neighbouring countries.

“Right now, so long you have a license, anybody is allowed to go across the border, source their products and bring into the country.  And they can distribute it to consumers, retailers or anybody. This is the existing practice.”

She added that the proposal ensures that only business entities with a dealership or wholesale license would be allowed to import brand or products from a principal company.

This will ensure genuine product import, better returns policy and would also benefit the consumers.

Rinchen Lhazom said that it would also ensure accurate data on the volume of trade that has taken place through importation from a particular brand or principal company. It would also get the benefit of integrated goods and service tax (IGST). “If we source it from the principal company, we would be ensured that it comes without the IGST, which means that the price would be low and consumers can also get the benefit.”

However, the department is weighing the benefits of the new proposal through consultations with various stakeholders.

The DoT officials consulted with stakeholders from Punakha during a two-day workshop last week where participants were presented with a study on the new supply chain or distribution system in the trading sector.

Among other discussions, supply shortage of goods and petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) was also highlighted. Concerns on the quantity and quality of oil by the various distributors were also raised.

POL distributors at the workshop said that their products undergo the Bhutan Standard Bureau’s mandatory inspection among other measures, to ensure quality.

In the workshop, sustainable energy to replace fossil fuels was also discussed.

The workshop was conducted also to ensure the business community had a platform to raise their issues and also better understand trade polices.

Such a workshop is held annually in different dzongkhags by the DoT. Members from the business community, representatives from various government departments attended the workshop.