A fewer demand for local brick despite an increasing number of constructions in Trashigang and other parts of the country has left the local brick makers in Trashigang worried.
Unable to capture the market, the brick producers are concerned about the sustainability of the enterprise if the import of building blocks and bricks from India continues.
A local brick manufacturing unit at Rongthong in Trashigang was opened since three years ago. However, business hasn’t gone well till now.
Kinley Wangchuk, the owner of KD bricks and blocks in Rongthong, started the factory with the hope that the business will go well.
“It has been more than two years since I started the factory and the business has not been good so far,” he said. “I have closed the factory for the last eight months as there was no market for local bricks at all.”
It has been only about two months since he resumed the factory.
“Although the business for local bricks is not good, I resumed the factory since I had some hope from the Kholongchu project.”
According to Kinley Wangchuk, local manufacturers of concrete and hollow blocks are suffering as there are more brick manufacturing factories than demand in Trashigang.
“People prefer imported bricks over local bricks and the demand for local bricks is fewer, on the other hand there are more than six local brick manufactures in Trashigang,” he added.
“There is no market for concrete and hallow blocks as people started importing Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (ACC) blocks,” he added.
In February, the factory sold around 2,000 numbers of bricks. “Which means with 2,000 bricks the factory is earning around Nu 30, 000 to Nu 40,000, but the expenditure here is in lakhs,” the proprietor of KD bricks and blocks said.
Another local brick producer said people still chose imported bricks even if locally produced bricks are superior in quality, use locally available raw materials and are environment-friendly.
“The imported blocks are expensive too by about Nu 6 to Nu 7 due to transportation costs,” he said.
He added that he had availed loans to set up the factory and that the repayment of the loans has been a problem now.
“Despite maintaining the quality, the demand for the local brick is minimal. We cannot blame this to marketing strategies or location of the business establishments or even the quality of the products. It is mainly due to the increasing number of brick suppliers to the minimum demand in the market,” he added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tsheing, in response to the petition submitted by some 31 concrete brick manufacturers last month asking government to procure locally manufactured bricks instead of imported ones, said the government would undoubtedly procure local bricks if the locally manufactured goods are of superior quality.
“If the locally manufactured bricks do not match up to the quality of the imported ones, the government is in no position to arbitrate the market,” Lyonchhen said.
Lyonchhen said the government agrees with the argument that promoting locally manufactured bricks would curb foreign currency outflow, provide employment opportunities and boost domestic production.
Meanwhile, PM added that he had asked the works and human settlement ministry to examine as to why imported bricks are preferred over the local ones.
Jigme Wangchen from T/gang