BCCI planning to manufacture school uniforms within country

The Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is planning to launch an initiative to manufacture school uniforms in the country. Through such an initiative, the BCCI intends to provide employment opportunities to unemployed individuals who underwent tailoring training. It will also ensure the affordability of school uniforms.

Currently, according to the BCCI, the average cost of a school uniform in the country comes to around Nu 1,800.

In Thimphu, the price of school uniforms ranges from Nu 1,200 to more than 2,000 depending on the size and quality.

If the BCCI’s initiative is successful, the cost is expected to drop by up to Nu 400.

BCCI President Tandy Wangchuk said that BCCI is prepared to go ahead with the initiative after conducting several consultation meetings with business people.

For now, the BCCI is waiting for interested individuals to step forward.

According to the BBCI’s plan, the already established tailoring shops will initiate the manufacturing works and recruit other unemployed individuals with tailoring skills.

The BCCI President said he has informed the business communities about the plan during business consultation meetings in the east and central parts of the country.

“Once we have identified the key players in the respective districts, then, they will have to take their goods to their stations and stitch the ghos. When they start the work, many of the private sector will not have money. So, we, the committee are thinking of requesting the Prime Minister for four to five tailoring machines in each district, depending on the number of the students.”

He added that studies have been conducted to determine school uniform requirements.

Moreover, to incentivise domestic production, the BCCI will propose tax breaks on the import of raw materials, financial incentives, and provision of necessary machinery.

The BCCI said that negotiations have been held with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment to provide a stipend of 5,000 ngultrum monthly for six months to interested participants, easing their transition into production.

Moreover, he said that in the last four to five years, BCCI has trained about 5,000 people in tailoring, a significant portion of whom remained unemployed.

The initiative is expected to help generate employment opportunities for them.“We are planning to connect the procurement of goods, excusing taxes and distributing it to respective districts. And we will request the required tailoring machines from the government. Because of all these, about 7,000 to 8,000 people can be put into jobs. And the gho should be Nu 200 to 300 cheaper than the existing market rate,” said Tandy Wangchuk, BCCI President.

“This initiative can help curb unemployment in the country. Moreover, since school uniforms are mostly imported, with this initiative, we can keep our money within the country which will help improve our economy as well,” said Pemba, a tailor.

“The only way I see small tailors like us benefiting from the initiative is if the BCCI can appoint a president, select master tailors and turn it into an organization,” said Tshewang Dorji, another tailor.

The BCCI president said it will start as a pilot programme in five districts, with plans for expansion thereafter.

Karma Samten Wangda

Edited by Tshering Zam

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