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Cash-strapped BPC asks for emergency bail-out
Shakhawat Hossain

The government will review an energy division proposal on granting Tk 67.95 billion to the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) today (Thursday) at a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs.
The meeting, with the Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman in the chair, may also scrutinise four other demands in favour of the cash-strapped lone state-owned oil importing agency, sources said.
Explaining the current status of the BPC, the energy division said the proposals should be accepted for the survival of the BPC and welfare of the country.
"Due to liquidity crisis and outstanding dues, the BPC is facing a serious setback in its oil imports, threatening disruption in normal supply of petroleum products," the proposal said.
Sources said energy division sent same proposals to the finance division recently to overcome problem in arranging more than US $2.0 billion to meet import bills for the current calendar year.
But the proposal was rejected.
The energy division then sought the approval of the Prime Minister, who is in charge of the Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, for tabling the proposals in the cabinet committee on the economic affairs.
In other proposals, it urged the government for realising outstanding dues of some Tk 10 billion from Biman, Power Development Board (PDB) and Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC).
Official figures showed that the outstanding dues of Biman to BPC were Tk 8.74 billion, PDB Tk 553 million and BCIC Tk 202 million.
On the other hand, the BPC owed Tk 77.29 billion to four nationalised commercial banks until the end of 2005. Due to non-payment of the dues for long, the BPC has been counting interest to the tune of Tk 1.5 million annually.
The energy division also requested for waiving interest of more than Tk 2.0 billion it owed to the nationalised commercial banks and payment of Tk 25.94 of budgetary allocation annually to foot the import bills.
The BPC started its journey way back in 1976 with a capital of Tk 1.0 million.
It has started incurring losses heavily since 1990-2000. The accumulated loss of the organisation until the last fiscal year stood at Tk 58.04 billion.