The country's capital market watchdog held the Ministry of Finance responsible for delaying the process of divesting the remaining government shares of the listed state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
"The Ministry of Finance asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to update an action plan thrice during the last four months only to adjust the probable date for offloading government shares," a senior SEC official told the FE.
He said the SEC updated the action plan repeatedly as per the ministry's requirement but no development is yet in sight.
The Ministry of Finance sought it again recently and the commission has planned to submit it today (Monday) to facilitate divesting of government shares, SEC sources said.
The SEC prepared an action plan and submitted it to the ministry in October 2005 to increase liquidity in the country's stock markets through off-loading of government shares.
In the action plan, the commission set the time-frame for divesting the government shares from one month to three months depending on the requirements of restructuring procedures of different SOEs.
Sources said the newly launched state-owned Teletalk mobile company and some other profitable companies are among the SOEs planned by the government for divestment.
"The action plan deals with various procedures to implement the government's plan to float its shares in different profitable SOEs for the private investors," SEC chairman Mirza Azizul Islam told the FE.
He said asset restructuring, direct listing and offloading of government's existing shares are among the measures outlined in the first ever action plan the government might adopt for divesting its shares.
The government is now actively considering offloading of some 7.6 million shares owned by seven state-owned listed companies.
The companies include Atlas Bangladesh, National Tubes, Eastern Cables, Padma Oil, Eastern Lubricant, Usmania Glass and Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB).
The prices of the shares of these companies would be Tk 341.62 million at present market value, bourse sources said.
The government is now holding 51 per cent shares of each of the three companies - Atlas Bangladesh, Eastern Cables and Usmania Glass, 53 per cent of National Tubes, 50 per cent of Padma Oil and 27 per cent of the ICB.
All these seven companies are now being traded in the A-category in both the bourses - DSE and the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE).