PM’s foreign tours
Biman’s dues stand at Tk 14 croreShakhawat Hossain
Loss-making Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ woes deepened further as its outstanding dues from the ministries, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have remained unrealised for long, said its officials.
According to an estimate, the officials said, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs owes over Tk 140 million or Tk 14 crore to the state-owned Biman for the overseas tours of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
During the last three and a half year, the PM, along with her entourage, has made at least twenty-four overseas tours on the national flag carrier.
Biman’s managing director, SK Naseer Uddin Ahmed, said that not only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment is not paying the money it owes Biman.
Biman helped the ministry to evacuate a large number of Bangladeshi workers from trouble-torn Libya last year, he told New Age.
‘Naturally, all the unpaid dues and other factors have increased Biman’s financial woes,’ said Biman’s MD who was appointed a couple of months ago.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured him that it would pay the due money almost a month ago.
A foreign ministry official
said they could not clear the dues due to shortage of fund, and they have already asked for additional budgetary allocation from the Ministry of Finance.
Biman is struggling to reduce its losses which are due to many factors including inefficient operation, mismanagement and corruption. It suffered a loss of Tk 200 crore last fiscal year.
Transparency International Bangladesh, in a report a couple of years ago, pointed out that corruption in repair and maintenance of aircrafts leads to huge losses in Biman every year.
Between 2004 and 2007, Biman’s repair and maintenance costs more than doubled from Tk 214.525 crore to Tk 489.08 crore, even though the number of planes has fallen from 17 to 13, and total flight hours have decreased by 25 per cent
The TIB also found out that the repair orders were mostly given to 1 or 2 agencies which provides evidence of nepotism and existence of significant political influence.
comments powered by Disqus