Import: To streamline import of automotive lubricants, the Department of Trade has made it mandatory to avail a separate licence for import of lubricants.

According to trade officials, enterprises and automobile workshops have been importing and supplying various brands of lubricants without a valid trade license, which is not allowed.

The department has requested regional revenue and customs offices in border towns to clear the import of lubricants only on the production of a separate “trade license for lubricants only.”

Officiating director Dophu Tshering said project authorities and agencies would not be allowed to award lubricant tenders to enterprises other than certified dealers. Importing directly from manufacturing companies or purchasing from the open market in India is not encouraged, according to the department.

Also, as per the Bhutan Wholesale Regulations 2006, petroleum, oil and lubricant products fall under negative list, which means that a clearance from the trade department has to be sought for their import. “Some lubricants are of genuine quality while others are of inferior quality thereby posing risk to vehicles and other expensive machineries,” he said.

Trade officials recently held a series of meetings with suppliers to inform that the government would be strict in implementation of the rules. Currently, nine Indian companies, including Castrol British Petroleum and Total Oil Onidia Ltd., have been supplying lubricants to Bhutan.

The Indian suppliers have been told that they should supply quality lubricants without interruption. Their dealers in Bhutan include Zimdra, Damchen, Bhutan Oil Distributors (BoD) and SL Lubricants.

The meeting also discussed the need to appoint new Bhutanese dealers across the country and to improve the distribution system. However, he said that the price issue has been left to the market.  “We don’t want to take any risks,” he said, adding that it was high time vehicle and machinery owners be cautioned on choosing the best lubricants.

Failure to meet quality and demand would lead to the cancellation of the dealership license, he said adding that a technical workshop to sensitise the public on the issue would also be held soon.

MB Subba