Showing posts with label Business Monopoly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business Monopoly. Show all posts

31 January 2022

Egg-nomy- The Fragile Economy of Eggs

In the last decade, the ban on import of eggs gave rise to a booming poultry business and thus we achieved egg self-sufficiency within a short span of time. In fact, the massive growth in local egg production changed our dietary habits and we saw a steep upward curve in consumption of eggs in Bhutan.

Picture Source: Cee Dee Ventures (Facebook)

Just another decade ago, egg was a delicacy. My mother would promise to give me an egg fry if I passed my exam. Families would save two to three pieces of eggs for special occasions. If someone broke an egg by accident, hell would break lose. I don’t think kids these days can relate to this, because now we buy eggs in trays and have it as a quick meal whenever we wish.

But seemingly we had all our eggs in one basket or to put it literally we had all our birds feed from one basket. BOOM! With a fault in one batch of feed, we lose our self-sufficiency status overnight.

With the sudden drop in the production of eggs, the supply chain was badly hit and the cruel market force driven by the greedy middlemen shot the price of egg over the roof. This is a bad market where price rises because of the misfortune of the others. I didn’t study business; in the open market, it may be considered fair enough for the price to increase with the rise in demand and drop in supply but in the business of karma it’s not going to pay.

Now, when the government is importing eggs to fill the gap, a news report says, some farmers are not happy. When the price of the eggs on my table has made me sad, I have no heart to care about the happiness of some farmers. I rather lobby for more import to control the price in the local market. We just cannot do business the conventional way, we must care, we must feel, and ripe what we saw.

05 May 2013

National Book unFair in Bajothang Again

I was the happiest when Bajothang School was chosen the venue of National Book Fair last year. I was full of expectations. It was my first close encounter with the event and I was watching it from all corners from the day the first truck dropped the load of books.
When the event unfolded I was the most disappointed. I even wrote an article expressing my disappointment: "Book Fair Should be More Than Business" after observing that the fair was all about selling millions worth of book to school libraries. If it was only about selling books, why do we need a fair at all, every Dzongkhag has their towns where book stores are suffering from lack of business. Book Fair must be the reason why book stores are closing down, and why new book stores are not coming up. Wangdue has no book store at all. If you suggest someone to open one, they will tell how selling books is so hard but the reality is every year schools are given huge budget to buys books- which sadly goes to some twenty book sellers participating in book fair.
Book Fair should be an event to celebrate the love for book, to celebrate wisdom of book and to promote reading culture among children. It should be organized by people who love books and literature, people who have read widely and could inspire buyers.
Book Fair should be the meeting place for book lovers, where people who have read most come to share about their secrets and their recommendations to students attending the fair. Where students with outstanding reading habits could be awarded prizes. (But currently only librarians and teachers attend the fair)
Book Fair should honour Bhutanese Writers and their works. It should create platform for native writers to read their books to children and promote their own dreams and inspire children into writing. Writers attending the fair will positively boost the sale of their books and boost their passion. Book Fair in Bhutan should be responsible for promoting book in Bhutan at least.
Book Fair can be the best event to launch books by Bhutanese writers, did it happen?
Some near by schools could be asked to prepare some performances based on popular stories, recite poems, narrate stories, or present book reviews by students.
If none of these is going to happen then stop Book Fair all together because it's only killing the business of hundreds of Book Stores that are not taking part in the fair for the sake of some twenty smart businessmen.

Truck loads of books have arrived in my school football ground and stalls are erected for the event, let's see how different this National Book Fair is going to be!

11 June 2012

The Changing MRP

MRP is supposed to stand for Maximum Retail Price, but it's badly misunderstood in Bhutanese Market. People think it's the price shopkeepers paid to the sources, or shopkeepers convince people to think so. Therefore they think is reasonable to pay a little higher than MRP and if on some rare occasions they get a few things on MRP it makes them very happy.
But the truth everybody knows is that MRP printed on goods are way higher than its actual price so that it covers all transportation expenses and taxes and still leave good room for profit. But some shopkeepers who charge over the MRP share their sad stories of having paid so much themselves, which is either a big lie or they are foolish enough to deal with third-person suppliers. Whose ever fault it is, costumers like us are the ones who are paying the price on daily basis.
However our misery with MRP doesn't end with getting some things at MRP because it's on a constant change. Prices of goods are changing with every new stock and shopkeepers shrug innocently, indicating that they have no power over the Indian inflation. That's true we can't control the Indian market, and we can't survive without importing from India but what about Bhutan?
One Bhutanese good I buy regularly is Orange Fruit Squash, it's not only economical but also less harmful compared to fizzy drinks. Till last week I was buying one liter bottle @Nu.78 and today it's @Nu.115, a 47.4% increase in price. I checked the dates and found that the ones I bought earlier were from last year and the new stock was the one which came with new price tag. I am just wondering what happened so suddenly in Bhutan that this company had to increase the price insanely.
Orange Squash 47.4 % inflated over a few months (look at the prices)
Prime Minister sure told us Bhutanese to take advantage of the Rupee Crunch but He mustn't have meant to do this and kill fellow Bhutanese. Orange Squash was a poor-man's drink, we could increase the amount by adding water but now they have even charged for the water we will add.
I am also wondering why the juice which is produced in Bhutan and also has "Bhutan Sale" written on it has it's price printed in RS.

12 March 2012

My Rupee Worries

Even without any knowledge on commerce and economy I always saw this problem coming, I am not bluffing, and I am surprised some are only waking up now. I was in Phuntsholing last winter and had the misfortune of seeing how those four ATMs ran out of cash every hour. Our money was going to India as if Bhutanese economy was suffering from shooting diarrhea.
RMA's sudden measure to curb rupee crunch send panic waves across the country; Import business are threatened, constructions sectors are stunned, industries are shocked... and for once I thought out central bank is trying to cut off the neck that pains instead of healing it. Only today, after Dawa's show on BBS I saw the light, the light that should have been shown long ago. But now is not a bad time either.
However, this temporary measure, I fear, might cause permanent damage to our trade relation with people in Jaigoan. With Indian businessmen already shying away from Ngultrum I foresee sudden inflation in daily commodities in few days time. I have to gamble on weather I should already fill my kitchen with cartons of milk powder and cooking oil. I have already fueled my car -as if the problem would be solved before I run out of fuel again, and that sort of shortsightedness is prevalent among us Bhutanese. And even the central bank.
During the discussion, I didn't hear them talk anything about dollar. But some of us on twitter did a little talk of our own, where we mentioned why not use dollar to buy rupee. The problem is with rupee and we are supposed to have earned good amount of dollar through tourism, why can't we use it?
Without taking long term measures the economy diarrhea will never stop, and the current measure is just a radish corked in the bottom, only to build the pressure of outflow after it's been removed. We may have to look at agriculture seriously so that we don't land up importing what we could grow at home. We should revisit our tourism policy and bring some wise reforms. Our daily tariff of $250 scares many potential tourist from coming and spending in our country.
Of all the things we pride in so much, hydro power puts me to shame. We counted on it to rain rupee on us but the funny export agreements for 30 years with outrageously low tariff would making any difference to our economy during our time. By the time we have full ownership the walls of the dam may fall apart and new projects may have to begin again- followed by new agreements. Last winter's news of importing power from India shocked me 440 volts full.
The only two options we could play with are agriculture and tourism: Agriculture for controlling import and tourism for building economy.

27 April 2011

Breaking the Monopoly

When a fresh roll of cable stretched across Bajothang last week , everybody wondered why TT Cable is changing their functioning cable, but it was a mistake- Damchen Cable was making its entry into the area.Rumors of 50 channels and free connection is already in the air. Every other family I met is waiting to switch cable, but I don't want to do that. I want TT Cable to increase the channels and enhance the signal clarity, which they say is already in the pipeline- without having to ask. One of the best changes in the town!

I still remember how BMobile ragged us before the entry of Tashi Cell, how the way bankers treat clients changed with arrival of new banks, how quality of newspapers improved and price decreased,... how life changed for good at the break of monopoly.

But BPC's monopoly over power in the country may take a long time to break, and for so long we may have to tolerate frequent blackouts. In countries like Singapore, a teenager has never experienced a power blackout in his entire life but in Bhutan a month old babe has felt it over ten times already.