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 SEC, bourses rule out workers' unrest if govt offloads SoEs shares

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Posts : 98
Join date : 2010-05-25

PostSubject: SEC, bourses rule out workers' unrest if govt offloads SoEs shares   Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:56 am

Mohammad Mufazzal

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the bourses have ruled out the possibility of workers' unrest if the government offloads the shares of state-owned enterprises (SoEs).

They also said SoEs will grow further and make more profit once they are listed on the country's stock exchanges.

The comments came after the Ministry of Industries denied offloading of the shares of its eight enterprises through the capital market.

Stock market analysts said ignorance and fear of losing facilities by top officials are among the reasons behind holding back offloading of SoEs' shares.

The decision of the MoI was conveyed to Ministry of Finance (MoF) last week.

SEC chairman Zia-ul Haq Khondaker said the government had a chance to promote the growth of its enterprises though offloading their shares.

"The government can seize the opportunity to lessen the burden of debt of its enterprises by offloading shares," he said.

Former SEC chairman Faruq Ahmad Siddiqui blamed the ignorance of bureaucrats and the fear of losing power and facilities for MoI's denial of offloading the shares.

"The bureaucrats of our country have no clear idea about the capital market. This is the reason they are opposing offloading of SoE shares," Mr. Siddiqui said.

"There is no incidence of backlash from workers for offloading shares of state-owned enterprises in the capital market so far," Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) president Shakil Rizvi said.

"Moreover, those enterprises are gaining higher profit and earning more revenue for the government. The workers also want better performance of the companies," he said.

Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) president Fakhor Uddin Ali Ahmed said if the government offloads the shares of SoEs the performance of workers will come under scrutiny.

"The government says it wants transparency in the capital market. On the other hand it denies offloading of SoEs' shares for fear of accountability," Mr. Ahmed said.

The top officials of finance ministry also expressed their concern over the decision of MoI and said the decision is contrary to a government decision taken earlier to make the country's capital market vibrant by making available a part of the stakes of the SoEs.

According to the government's latest decision, the MoI was supposed to offload 49 per cent shares of Pragati Industries Ltd, Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd, GEM Company Ltd and Bangladesh Blade Factory Ltd latest by June, 2010.

MoI was also supposed to offload 25 per cent government shares of four more listed companies by June, this year.
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