The advisory council committee on economic affairs in a meeting on Tuesday rejected the finance ministry’s proposal to assign the Privatisation Commission again to offload government’s shares in the Rupali Bank Ltd.
‘We have decided not to task the Privatisation Commission again with offloading government’s shares in Rupali Bank as the bank is already listed with the country’s both bourses,’ finance and planning adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam told reporters after the meeting.
He said the bank’s present status quo should be maintained for improvement of its financial condition.
‘As the highest bidder to buy the government shares in the bank a Saudi buyer failed to pay by several deadlines, the caretaker government forfeited its 100,000 dollar guarantee deposit,’ Aziz added.
In 2006, the Privatisation Commission selected a Saudi Arabian buyer through an international bid floated for the sale of government’s stake in Rupali Bank. The Saudi buyer offered $450 million to take over the entire 93.26 per cent government stake. A memorandum of understanding was also signed to this effect. But the commission had to scrap the deal following persisting foot-dragging by the Saudi buyer.
Mirza Aziz said a Japanese organisation named ‘Ex-IP’ had offered to buy the government shares in the bank.
The financial health of the bank has been poor for decades. The bank is now facing an acute manpower shortage because of voluntary retirement of a good number of officials and employees under the World Bank-financed Enterprise Growth and Bank Modernisation Project.