Vol. 5 Num 591 Thu. January 26, 2006  

BADC exempted from paying Tk 2,043cr in liability
Govt to pay back the money to donors

The government bailed out the moribund Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) from a big burden of paying Tk 2,043 crore in Debt Service Liabilities (DSL) to foreign donors, incurred by the state-owned entity way back since 1961.

Officials said the cabinet committee on economic affairs at a meeting yesterday took the decision lifting the staggering financial load from the frail shoulders of the BADC onto the government.

Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman chaired the meeting at the Secretariat.

As per the decision, the government itself is now responsible to pay back the money to the multilateral donor countries and agencies from which the assistance had come under different projects on irrigation and fertilizer import.

Sources in the crisis-ridden corporation said they had been requesting the government for the last 10 years to grant them immunity from the huge sums of DSL.

Saifur emerging from the meeting told the journalists that the BADC was exempted from DSL as it has not the capability to pay the money.

"How they will give the money... they themselves are plunged into various problems", he said about the agricultural development corporation that once faced with the stark fate of getting extinct.

Replying to a query, he said the government is thinking about striking a balance in the price of fuel oils on daily basis.

"It is under process", he said and cited external market situation to justify a possible government option for increasing oil prices further.

"Oil is being sold on the international market at 69 US dollar per barrel, but we are selling at 40 US dollar only. The government cannot provide such gigantic subsidy."

He said if the oil prices on the world market come down, the government will reduce the price on a par with the international raters.

The government has finalised the draft of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) that will be placed before the cabinet for endorsement very quickly, he added.

The cabinet committee meeting also approved in principle the handover of CSD to BEPZA and modalities for resolving the crisis in the textile mills sold out by the Textile Ministry and the Privatization Commission.

The meeting, however, referred to the next meeting for detailed discussion on the decision taken to vest authority in the Textile and Jute Ministry to sell out the mills under the ministry instead of the Privatisation Commission.