DHAKA: The sluggish privatization programme is going to gain pace again as the new industrial policy removes the roadblocks to transfer of the losing or laid-off enterprises to private owners.
A meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office on April 22 with PM’s Principal Secretary MA Karim in the chair took the decision to hand over the loss-incurring public concerns to the Privatization Commission.
The privatization move remained stalled for more than a year due to the government’s “dual policy” and “indecision”, industry sources said.
During the period, the Privatization Commission had developed disagreement and controversy with the Industries, and Textiles and Jute Ministries and some other ministries over the privatization policy and reopening of the closed state-owned industrial units.
The draft Industrial Policy was the reason behind the controversy.
The draft industrial policy announced in April last year had recommended turning the losing industries profitable before privatizing, which was amended later.
A source close to the commission informed that the present government has now initiated a fresh move to sell off the country’s laid-off and sick industries “in a transparent manner and under a close watch”.
“The step is aimed at breathing dynamism into the economy through making the losing concerns and sick industries profitable,” the source said.
On the other hand, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, in his budget speech last year, said no state-run organizations would be sold to the private sector within next one year.
But, the privatization process has been halted due to the disagreement of Jute, Textiles and Industries ministries. The Commission even did not hand over a number of sold-out companies for a lack of willingness of the ministries concerned.
Extending his support to the government’s policy, Privatization Commission Chairman Dr Mirza Abdul Jalil said, “Operating industrial units and doing business is not government’s job. It is not capable of bearing the burden of the loss of crores of taka. So privatization is a must.”
According to the Commission, around 560 industrial enterprises have so far been privatized after the country’s independence. Of these, 486 were privatized before the formation of the Privatization Board, 20 under the board and 74 others under the commission.
The commission has got on its list 30 SOEs for privatization, including BJMC, BTMC and Handloom Board.
BDST: 1912 HRS, SEP 07, 2010