THE chief executive (CE) of the Board of Investment and at the same time energy advisor recently voiced high hopes about the possible impact of the proposed investment by TATA on our share market. Shares of TATA, as he stated, will be listed with our stock exchanges as soon as its enterprises go into operation. According to the BOI chief, this will make our fragile stock markets strong and stable.
As a primary shareholder of a listed textile company, I am sorry to point out that this public limited company did raise an interest-free capital of millions of takas more than a decade back indicating juicy returns but its shareholders have been cheated meticulously.
One primary share of that textile company was sold at Taka one hundred fifty a decade back. It can now be exchanged for Taka sixty-five in our stock markets because of payment of poor or no dividend for years. The company is, thus, enjoying interest-free capital, on one hand, and getting cash subsidy from the government, on the other. We know that the planning and finance minister will, as usual, give us enough statistics about economic growth rate while placing the coming national budget in the parliament. But what is the growth rate of the textile company under mention here and whose chief executive was his cabinet colleague until the other day?
Similar is the situation with another textile unit whose chief executive is the president of the trade promotion organisation for the textile sector. It sold its primary shares at Taka 250/- each a decade back but its share is now worth hardly Tk 50/- in stock markets. Enough big words are uttered about the textile sector but the sponsors have played a monkey game with share-holders, I believe!
We do often learn through media that US-based Enron company's chief executive and associates have been jailed and fined because of unfair, fraudulent, non-transparent deals and for manipulating books of accounts etc. The Hon'ble Prime Minister do often remind us about the share market scandal of 1996 but it remains a mystery why no legal action has been taken against those persons who were involved in it. Let the BNP policy-makers speak honestly!
As primary share-holders of a number of public limited companies, we have been cheated because of poor governance, I believe. The then Rakkhi Bahini killed two dozen JSD processionists on July 15,1975 as they were marching toward the residence of the home minister. But today at times total chaos, confusion and lawlessness prevail but the timid government remains hopelessly indifferent.
The authorities should do justice to investors while law and order has to be established firmly; otherwise, governance itself will become dysfunctional.