… the company is also reviewing its business

Dechen Dolkar

Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation (BLDC) will close its outlets on July 31, this year. It was decided during the company’s general meeting on June 4.

BLDC has seven outlets, six are in Thimphu and one in Mongar. Outlets in Wangduephodrag and Haa closed three months ago.

According to the BLDC notification issued on July 7, the company is going through complete financial distress and is currently undergoing a major transformation, and shifting from the company’s way of doing business from trading through business oriented to dealership agents.

The State-owned Enterprise (SOE) was established in 2017 in August to accelerate the production of agriculture and livestock.

Its objectives included complementing the development needs of the livestock sector and helping create job opportunities.

The Economic and Finance Committee of the National Assembly recently called for the immediate closure of the corporation since the committee found it to be competing directly with private sector players.

Far from its original mandates which required research and development it focuses on the sale of dairy and milk products through its outlets, the committee reported. “The current working modality of BLDC has no Research and Development component.”

According to an economy analyst, BLDC’s R&D mandate requires it to focus on increasing and improving livestock production, adding value to products, and pioneering hygienic packaging and distribution practices.

It also mandates connecting farmers to the market and supporting farmers and private players to explore the international market for their products. “However, BLDC does none of this,” the analyst said.

With the closing of the outlets, BLDC will also lay off nine sales executives with effect from August 6, after giving them one month’s notice as per its service rules.

A letter, addressed to the Sales unit manager dated July 7, states that the management had to make this ‘hard decision based on the current financial status’ and ‘as a part of the business revival strategy of the company’.

It has also mentioned that the laid-off employees will be paid four months’ basic salary, a transfer grant of one-month basic salary, carriage charges of personal effects of employees from current workstation to place of destination and other benefits.

However, the Chief Executive Officer of BLDCL, Jigme Wangchuk said that they are still working on reviewing the business model.

Officials from BLDC said that they will focus on dealership agents where they will supply their products to the dealers.

“Trading practices were not efficient for the company. Now BLDC will process the value-added products and supply to dealers,” an official said.

BLDC’s strategies have been reviewed five times since the company was not doing well financially.

BLDC outlets sell more than 100 products. However, only 10 percent of them are its products.