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Business  & Finance News

 Sunday March, 16, 2003

Compiled by SDNP

Head Lines


The four who win Bangladesh Business Awards 2002

Business Person of the Year

The Daily Star

Syed Manzur Elahi, chairman of Apex Group, received the 'Business Person of the Year 2002' award. He is one of the pioneers who turned the loss-making leather sector into a key foreign currency earner. Today, Apex Tannery and Apex Footwear are worth Tk 600 million and Tk 161 million, respectively, in terms of capital employing over 2,000 people and exporting Tk 2.3 billion annually. In its attempt to remain competitive, Apex has repeatedly upgraded its equipment straight from the gurus in leather technology in Tuscany, Italy.

At the award ceremony, Elahi was his usual eloquent self. He appreciated the positive role the government has played in formulating the right policies for the leather sector and highlighted the local value added by the sector a phenomenal figure of 95 per cent. He thanked his wife for supporting him to leave a comfortable corporate job and delve into uncertain initiatives. Despite the admittedly "dirty and obnoxious" nature of his business, Elahi painted a bright future for Bangladeshi leather abroad.

Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year

Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, chairman of Adcomm Limited, was awarded the honor of being 'Outstanding Woman in Business of the Year 2002'. She started her own business in an era when few women dared to venture out into the entrepreneurial world.

From a small office, Adcomm has expanded today to one of the top-tier advertising agencies in Bangladesh with the group's annual turnover amounting to Tk 50 crore and generating employment for about 300. It is affiliated with renowned international agencies like Bates Worldwide, and Lowe, Lintas and Partners.

Signage, the digital printing house, Screaming Girl, production house, Art of Noise, recording studio, and Marka, an ad firm, are all supportive hands for Adcomm to make it a complete house.

The journey definitely does not come to an end with Adcomm. There are still many things to be done. "I want to build Adcomm to be recognised as a world class advertising and communication solution provider", Geeteara promised.

Enterprise of the Year

Micro Electronics Limited was awarded the 'Enterprise of the Year 2002' award for its courageous and, now successful, venture of homegrown electronic products in a market where imported goods have traditionally been the preferred choice. Shattering all prevailing perception, Micro has successfully become a worthy name in electronic appliances generating annual turnover to the tune of Tk 36 crore. Hasina Doula, managing director of Micro Electronics Limited, received the award with tearful memories of her late husband Mofiud Doula, original founder of the award-winning company. She vividly narrated their initial struggles together in establishing their fledgling enterprise.

Today the product portfolio of the company includes emergency power supply (EPS), voltage stabiliser, remote control system, road traffic and railway signalling systems and sodium light. The company's products have already crossed national borders and are now found in Singapore and north-eastern states of India.

Joint Venture Enterprise of the Year

The first ever recipient of the newly introduced award category, 'Joint Venture Enterprise of the Year', was GrameenPhone Ltd. An alliance amongst Grameen Telecom of Bangladesh, Telenor ASA of Norway, Marubeni Corporation of Japan and Gonofone Development Corpo ration of USA, GrameenPhone today boasts 70 per cent market share and 50 per cent growth rate in profits.

Ola Ree, managing director, GrameenPhone Ltd, accepted the award on behalf of his management and emphasised that this is definitely not a one-person success. He mentioned GrameenPhone was the biggest corporate taxpayer in the country in the last fiscal year and the livelihood of over 20,000 people are related directly or indirectly to GP. Ree expressed thanks to the shareholders and attributed GP's overall success to the professionalism and commitment of the employees.

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Industrial Policy to be placed before cabinet tomorrow

Staff Reporter, The Independent

The Industrial Policy 2003-07 will be placed before the cabinet on Monday for its approval. This was disclosed by Industries Minister MK Anwar while speaking as chief guest at a seminar on ‘Sick Industries : Causes, Remedies and Prevention’ yesterday.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) organised the seminar in the city with its President Motiur Rahman in the chair.

Executive Chairman of Board of Investment (BOI) Mahmudur Rahman and Industries Secretary AFM Sarwar Kamal attended the seminar as special guests.

Professor and Director of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) Dr Sujit Saha presented the key-note paper at the seminar.

Industrial policy and finance bill should be integrated during the formulation of national budget, Anwar maintained. He, however, laid emphasis on a regulatory framework in the free market economy.

Citing the example of a huge number of cement factories of the country, the minister said a quantitative restriction must be maintained so that the market could not be over-saturated.

He said the regulatory system in the country was still weak. "Our main weakness lies in the process of carrying out a feasibility study prior to setting up of an industry," he said.

The government is aware of this situation and initiated measures to address the problem and sick industries rehabilitation and revival cell was created in 1991 headed by Industries Secretary, he said.

He, however, opined that the government alone cannot rehabilitate the sick industries or sort out their problems, he added.

Responding to a query of a participant, the minister said the process was underway to amend the relevant laws to strengthen the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute (BSTI). Former President of DCCI Rashed Maksud Khan identified lack of working capital as the main hindrance to open an industry. Industrial parks should be established in the country to expedite the pace of industrialisation, he said.

Dr Sujit in his paper suggested the plunging trend of growth in the manufacturing sector and its negligible share in the job creation should be reversed for a fast turnaround of the sector.

The contribution of industry sector to GDP was 15.58 per cent in the fiscal year of 2001-02 and growth rate was only 5 per cent in the same fiscal, he said.

BSS adds: The participants pointed out a number of issues including lack of project viability, market planning and management skill, high bank interest rate, frequent change of government policies, lack of co-ordination among concerned government departments, political unrest, and over saturation of particular type of industries as major reasons of industrial sickening.

Several speakers said NGO interventions in private sector with their exemptions caused an uneven competition in the market. A number of entrepreneurs demanded a stable and sustainable industrial policy like the fiscal policy of the government if needed with endorsement of parliament.

They also called for developing industrial data bank for entrepreneurs and enforcing quantitative restrictions on imports and stop cross border smuggling saying that even the advanced economies too were not so open to frustrate their domestic industries.

Presenting the keynote paper Dr Sujit Saha of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management suggested a number of preventive measures through changing macro-economic policies and their effective implementation, tariff rationalisation, motoring of saturation in industrial sub sectors, development of linkage industries, expansion of market base through increased export and creation of enabling environment through maintaining law and order.

The paper also suggested several curative measures for the already sick units including constitution of project rehabilitation cells by banks, remission of interest rates and launching dis-investment process in required cases.

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Govt offloads 11.75m shares of seven companies

BSS, Dhaka, The Independent

The government has decided to offload a number of 11,748,815 shares of seven companies, which is 60.19 per cent in its ownership, for operating in the country's capital market.

The companies include Zeel Bangla Sugar Mills Ltd at Dewanganj, Shampur Sugar Mills Ltd, Rangpur, Reinweek Jageshar and Company Ltd, Kustia, Bangladesh Moonspool Paper Manufacturing Company Ltd, Narayanganj, Osmania Glass sheet Factory Ltd, Chittagong, Padma Oil Company Ltd, Chittagong and Eastern Lubricants Blenders Ltd, Chittagong.

A press release issued yesterday by the Privatisation Commission said the government will sell these shares to the public through the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) and other brokerage houses.

The government will offload 63.52 per cent or 38,11,050 shares of Zeel Bangla from its ownership, 88.54 per cent or 88,26,800 shares of Shampur Sugar, 66 per cent or 1,32,000 shares of Reinweek Jageshar, 28.17 per cent or 78,070 shares of Bangladesh Moonspool, 51 per cent or 1,78,500 shares of Osmania Glass, 50.35 per cent or 24,67,150 share of Padma Oil and 65.92 per cent or 6,55,245 shares of Eastern Lubricants.

Government was holding total 19,521,120 shares of these companies, which include 60 lakh of Zeel Bangla, 50 lakh of Shampur Sugar, 2 lakh of Reinweek Jageshar, 2.77 lakh of Bangladesh Moonspool, 3.5 lakh of Osmania Glass, 49 lakh of Padma Oil and 9.94 lakh of Eastern Lubricants.

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Meghna Energy gets ISO certification

UNB, Dhaka, The Independent

Meghna Energy Limited has achieved the ISO 9001-2000 certification for its quality management system standard with regard to the management of 10.9-MW gas engine power plant at Rupganj in Narayanganj.

The company, a joint venture subsidiary of Rolls Royce Power Venture, UK (RRPV) achieved the Certification from Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Holland on conforming to its quality management system standard.

Cosmos Energy Services, a partner to RRPV, UK is performing the operation and maintenance (O and M) services of the plant, which exclusively caters to the entire electricity needs of Scancement International/Heidelberg Cement.

Meghna Energy is the first Captive Independent Power Producer (CIPP) in Bangladesh and Cosmos Energy Services is the first organisation in the country to attain ISO 9001-2000 Certification in respect of O and M of Captive Power Plant.

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