The Privatization Commission has listed and endorsed 71 state owned enterprises (SOEs) that are available for private ownership. The commission's recent meeting also approved a draft policy indicating the course of future privatizations. Both the list and policy are expected to be endorsed by the prime minister's office soon.

The list and policy are the result of a new law which the government enacted following enormous annual losses of over Tk10 million by SOEs, coupled with pressure from donors to expedite privatization.

Among enterprises identified by the commission for early privatization is the Rupali Bank. The listed units are reported to be from the jute, textile, steel engineering, chemical, tourism and oil sectors.

The draft policy encourages entrepreneurs to participate in the sale tenders of SOEs. A member of the commission, Yussuf Abdullah Harun (who is also president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry), has indicated that the proposed policy also addresses buyers' problems and workers' interests. The government is expected to bear short to medium-term liabilities in order to relieve potential buyers of heavily indebted losing concerns. In addition, buyers will be offered large discounts for immediate payment in full, and the tender period is expected to be reduced from the current 45 days.

During the meeting, the commission's chairman, Enam Ahmed Chowdhury, noted the government's commitment to rapid privatization and the fact that its first 100-day agenda deals with the updating of its privatization policy.

Commission members Abu Hena, Hafiz Ibrahim and MAH Selim also attended the meeting.

For further information on this topic please contact Ishrat Mahmud at Legal Remedy by telephone (+880 2955 0645) or by fax (+880 2955 0645) or by email ([email protected]).