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Published in The Financial Express on Sunday, 7 June 2015.

34 SoEs earn profits, 10 suffer losses
A leap in BPC earnings

Jubair Hasan

The country’s state-owned enterprises (SoEs) managed to maintain 6 per cent growth in terms of gaining profit, thanks to a major leap in the earnings of the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) in the outgoing fiscal year (FY) 2014-15, officials and experts said.

Officials concerned and experts, however, gave full credit of the growth to a significant fall in world prices of petroleum products.

According to the statistics of the Bangladesh Economic Review-2015, of the total 47 state enterprises, 34 made a profit of Tk 131.89 billion, while 10 incurred losses to the tune of Tk 101.72 billion during the period in the FY’15. Three others’ position remained static, making no profit or loss.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) topped the list of profit-making public entity and achieved a net profit of Tk 69.02 billion. But profit of the regulatory body was reduced by 31 per cent compared to the profit (Tk 100.35 billion) earned in the FY’14.

The BPC stood second in the list securing profit of Tk 34.55 billion in the FY’15 following a massive financial loss of Tk 23.21 billion in the previous FY.

While the Bangladesh Oil Gas and Mineral Corporation (BOGMC) made a profit of Tk 8.15 billion during the same time of the outgoing fiscal and the amount was Tk 4.42 billion in the previous FY’14.

Other profit-making SoEs are the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) with Tk 3.81 billion, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) Tk 2.02 billion, the Rajuk Tk 1.95 billion, the Dhaka Wasa Tk 1.67 billion, the National Housing Authority Tk 1.22 billion and the BEPZA Tk 1.01 billion.

The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) became the highest loss-making state enterprise as its net loss was rose to Tk 87.20 billion in the just concluding fiscal from Tk 68.06 billion registered in FY’14.

The other loss-incurring SoEs were the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) with Tk 6.40 billion, the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) Tk 5.23 billion, the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) Tk 1.01 billion, the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) Tk 0.62 billion and the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Tk 0.61 billion.

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), the Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC), the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust (BFFWT) and the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) also suffered net losses during FY’15.

When contacted, a senior official at the Ministry of Finance said various measures taken by the management to minimise the level of irregularities and wastage helped turnaround towards profit.

“The BPC has been incurring losses over the last few years because of irregularities and wastage. At the same time, fall in global prices of petroleum products also has contributed to the performance,” he added.

However, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) suggested that the government should consider offloading shares of SoEs in the capital market to help achieve its revenue earning target.

“To achieve a realistic revenue target, different measures, including offloading of the SoEs’ shares, need to be undertaken,” according to the State of the Bangladesh Economy in FY2015 and the Closure of Sixth Five Year Plan presented by the local think-tank a couple of days ago.

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