Q&A with Tshering Wangchuk, STCBL CEO
By Puran Gurung
Question 1: As the country’s main trading arm – what are some of your plans for State Trading Corporation Limited of Bhutan (STCBL) in the coming years?
One focus that the STCBL will undertake over the next few years is setting up Fuel Retail Outlets (FPO) in the 20 Dzongkhags. Apart from that, the STCBL will look into adding new products in the market. Simultaneously, we will be focusing on better customer service, accountability and on enhancing STCBL’s market presence.
Question 2: The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) reported malpractices and abuse of authorities in STCBL costing the company more than Nu 121 million, how do you plan to recover this amount and ensure accountability for times to come?
We plan to negotiate with the clients and offer repayments terms that are acceptable to both parties. The STCBL’s focus is on recovery and we understand that businesses have been affected in the COVID-19 situation. However, if negotiations fails then we have no alternative but to take the matter to court. We’ll be relooking at the Stand Operating Procedures (SOPs) and ensuring that accountability is fixed if not followed. Further, the STCBL will be very strict with regard to sale on credits.
Question 3: Amid the pandemic, how is STCBL strategizing to maximize sales and sustain trade with partners outside the country?
The pandemic has affected both the flow of goods the costs of transportation. This situation is a global phenomenon and although the flow of goods is slow and has become expensive, business is going on as usual and our partners outside are also making all efforts to meet our demand of goods – to the extent possible as the manufacturers outside are also faced with constraints brought about by the pandemic. Despite these constraints the STCBL is doing business as usual. We discuss the issues with our principal suppliers on a regular basis to ensure that we can deliver the products in time. The pandemic has affected all and we are sure that the clients understand when there is a delay in delivery or when our stocks run out.
Question 4: What are some of the immediate changes can we expect to see in STCBL?
Apart from enhancing STCBL’s business portfolio, you can expect better customer service, quality service delivery and greater market presence in the few years. We strive to function as a team and to take our services to the next level.
Question 5: As you take charge of STCBL, what are issues you feel need immediate action, and what have you done about it?
Although most aspects of the STCBL’s operations seemed smooth, I felt there are disconnect among the different divisions and units. I have started meeting and talking to employees from various divisions and units to share on the advantages of working together as a team. We also talked on the overall goal of STCBL and how each staff is a critical contributor to achieve the goals. It is just the beginning and there is more left to be done. But, I intend the organization to work as a team with shared goals.
Question 6: Please share some of STCBL’s role to strengthen the economic growth in the present scenario of the country and aid to normalize the economy of the country?
As the trading arm of the country, the STCBL’s mandate is trade. Therefore, profit is a priority so the STCBL can contribute to the country’s economic growth – especially in the current situation when our resources are diverted in fighting and mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19. If we look beyond the current situation, the STCBL has to ensure that products it deals are of high quality to ensure minimal impacts on the environment. Therefore, the STCBL has to balance its business with shared national goals.