Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The country’s state-controlled enterprises’ losses hit a new high of nearly BDT 100 billion in 2008 financial year under pressure from falling prices of goods and services.

The finance division said the year’s losses far outstripped those of the earlier fiscal when the companies counted over BDT 22 billion in losses.

The state-owned enterprises (SoEs) projected to rack up losses amounting to BDT 1.54 billion up to April of the 2009 fiscal, according to the Bangladesh Economic Survey 2009.

“This is simply the old story: SoEs are synonymous with losses,” a senior finance ministry official said in Dhaka on Saturday.

“But there are good news. Some of the state companies have managed to minimize losses while others actually returned to profits. The government is determined to lessen its financial burden,” the official added.

In the industrial sector, the biggest loser was the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), whose losses amounted to BDT 3.35 billion.

The biggest state chemical group is expected to announce another big loss in the 2009 fiscal as its losses have already reached BDT 1.04 billion up to April of the year.

Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) had incurred losses to the tune of BDT 2.48 billion in the last financial year, up from BDT 1.51 billion from a year ago.

Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC), however, managed to cut back its losses by BDT 160 million to BDT 210 million in the last financial year. But interestingly, the corporation, which has been in the red for years, has already incurred a loss of BDT 210 million up to April of the outgoing fiscal.

In the transport sector, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BTRC) losses rose to BDT 370 million in the year from BDT 350 million over the year before.

Land ports recorded a combined loss of BDT 15 million in the year reported.

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA)’s total losses amounted to BDT 130 million in the FY 08, down from BDT 200 million from an earlier year.

Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), which has been in the red year after year, counted a loss of BDT 95 billion, up from BDT 26 billion a year ago.

The BPC, which imports and markets fuel oil, said that it deposited BDT 29 billion to the government coffer as tax during the period when it posted the above losses.

Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) incurred losses of BDT 10 million. The state procurement entity, which is supposed to rescue beleaguered consumers from price spiral, may record BDT 80 million in losses.

In the utilities sector, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) churned out BDT 99.3 billion while it incurred BDT 15 billion in losses in July-April period.

The last fiscal’s losses were four times higher than those of the preceding year, a deterioration the finance official said calls for immediate reforms in the sector, according to the Financial Express (FE) reports.
BBN/SS/SI/AD-14June09-1:12 am (BST)