Profit making BCIC now counting losses

23 January 2021


Noman Mosharef :
Five years ago, state-owned Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) under Ministry of Industries was a profit-making organisation. But now it is counting thousand of crores taka losses.
BCIC's 12 industries have been producing fertilizer, cement, paper, Insulator and Sanitary ware and glass.
According to BCIC, 10 institutions under its counted losses while one made profit and another remain stable in the last fiscal year.
Six fertilizer industries out of eight had made losses. With the fertilizer industries, cement, paper, insulator and sanitary ware and glass industries also counted loss.
In that particular time the Triple Super Phosphate Complex Ltd (TSPCL) has made profit worth Tk 25.62 crore and DAP Fertilizer Company Limited (DAPFCL) remained stable.
BCIC sources said that until May of last FY (2019-2020) the total amount of loss of these institutions was Tk 815.13 crore. It will be exceeded thousand crore taka, said the sources. This loss is a record of BCIC's history.
According to BCIC's annual report, these institutions made profit in FY 2014-2015 of Tk 93.44 crore. In the next FY, they counted a loss Tk 77.79 crore. Subsequently, the loss is getting high.
Shahjalal Fertilizer Company Ltd. (SFCL) has suffered the most losses until May in the last FY counting Tk 264.29 crore. Besides,
 Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Limited counted a loss of Tk 145.63 crore, Jamuna Fertilizer Company Ltd.(JFCL) Tk 62.26 crore, Ashugonj Fertilizer & Chemcial Company Ltd. (AFCCL) Tk 71.75 crore, Polash Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd. Tk 6.42 crore, Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd. (UFFL) Tk 174.17 crore.
On the other hand, Chhatak Cement Company Ltd. has suffered losses Tk 39.87 crore while Usmania Glass Sheet Factory Ltd. (UGSFL) Tk 11.44 crore, Karnaphuli Paper Mills Ltd. Tk 20.13 crore and Bangladesh Insulator & Sanitary ware Factory Ltd (BISF) Tk 19.17 crore.
Overall, the reasons for the growing losses are the old age of BCIC factories, lack of skilled manpower, shortage of working capital, lack of factory reform and non-modernization or BMRE (balancing, modernization, expansion and replacement).
Besides, many are blaming the increase in wages and the rise in prices of manufacturing materials and gas and electricity. There are also allegations of incompetent decisions and corruption.
Md. Amin Ul Ahsan, Director (Commercial) & Chairman (Addl. Charge) of BCIC sees the trading gap as the biggest reason for BCIC's losses.
He said, "BCIC is supporting the government's initiative to ensure low-cost fertilizer supply to farmers." For this reason, we are producing fertilizer at an average of Tk 22,000 per tonne and supplying it at Tk 14,000. This is a big reason for the loss.
However, several BCIC officials have complained that the BCIC and its affiliates are sinking due to the incompetence, negligence and irregularities of the previous chairman and board of directors.
At present the production activities of three companies of the BCIS are closed. The Ashugonj Fertilizer & Chemical Company Ltd. (AFCCL) was closed due to fire in the motor room.  Although the factory was reopened this year after the problem was rectified; it was closed again last week due to an error.
In addition, in 2016, an explosion occurred in an ammonia tank at a Diammonium phosphate fertilizer factory in Chittagong, which has not yet been fully resolved. Usmania Glass Sheet Factory Ltd. (UGSFL) is closed due to lack of factory renovations and modernization, which will take another two to four months to open.
Besides, Jamuna Fertilizer was closed almost all the time last year even though it is currently running. The fertilizer factory was reopened in November after being closed for the last one and a half years due to a motor blast.

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