The government has taken a move to convert the country’s two oldest fertiliser factories–Ghorasal and Palash–into a limited company before merging them into one, officials have confirmed.
The Ministry of Industries (MoI) has already issued an order, asking the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) to start the process to this end, according to them.
They said the move has been taken to further expedite the ongoing development activities for building the country’s largest urea fertiliser factory on the site of the non-organic production bases involving Tk 105 billion (US$ 1.25 billion).
There is allegation that the initiative was a reflection of the demand made by the new project financiers, but it was turned down by the corporation.
Under the conversion initiative, ballooning debt service liability (DSL) of the factories, particularly that of Ghorasal will be shifted to the new company to handle, sources at the state-run corporation said.
When contacted, BCIC chairman Md Haiul Quaium has confirmed developments, saying that they have already selected three possible names for the company.
Once the company is formed, the officials engaged with the project would not need to go to different offices to get necessary approval, Mr Quaium said.
“They (project officials) can take quick decision for the sake of the scheme,” he said.
When asked about the DSL of the factories, he said Palash urea fertiliser factory doesn’t have much liability but Ghorasal unit has high DSL that the new company will deal with.
“No, the project has no link with the conversion of the two factories into limited company,” the BCIC chairman said in response to the allegation made by some quarters.
Currently, production at both the bases remained shut because of implementation of the new project titled Ghorashal Palash Urea Fertiliser Project (GPUFP) with an annual projected capacity of around 1.0 million tonnes of urea.
Project director Md Rajiour Rahman Mollick said the ministry concerned has asked them to merge both the units into a limited company.
“I hope we’ll be able to finish the task by March next year,” he said.
Regarding workers’ possible unrest that often takes place when the government takes such a move, he said they keep transferring the employees and workers to other BCIC factories for the sake of the ongoing construction work.
“So, it will not cause any problem,” he added.
Of the total financial requirements for GPUFP, the government will provide Tk 18.44 billion while the rest (Tk 86.16 billion) will come as commercial loan.
Of the overseas loans, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will give 85 per cent and the remaining portion will be provided by HSBC and MUFG.
The BCIC had converted some of its enterprises like Shahjalal Fertiliser Company, Jamuna Fertiliser Company and Ashuganj Fertiliser and Chemical Company into limited companies.