Finance Minister AMA Muhith has termed state-run Pragoti Industries Limited worthless as it could not manufacture any car during last 51 years.
“Pragoti presented a car to former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1973; but for 51 years Pragoti is only assembling and painting car bodies,” the finance minister said during an inter-ministerial meeting on off-loading government enterprises on Wednesday.
The minister said Pragoti Industries should be shut down after 2018 because it could not start car manufacturing despite having a contract with Japanese Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
“If Pragoti fails to sign further contracts with foreign companies for manufacturing cars, it will be shut down soon,” Muhith added.
Since its inception in 1966, Pragoti has been assembling cars in Chittagong.
A committee, headed by the Finance Ministry's Additional Secretary Muslim Chowdhury, has been formed to look into the financial health of 26 state-run companies.
The committee has been asked to submit a report within four months with advice on how to make the companies profitable and to offload their shares in the stock market.
On the issue of off-loading 10% share of Unilever Bangladesh Limited, the minister said the government was looking into it.
Quoting Muhith, an official of Banking Division said: “The government owns 39% share of Unilever, but Unilever is not interested to offload its share in the local stock market.”
“Multinational companies like Unilever are also not interested to increase their share in the market, although they are making huge profits here,” the minister said further.
He also agreed with the decision of the Health Ministry not to offload shares of the Essential Drugs Company Limited.
“State-run Essential Drugs usually controls the medicine market of the country as it is selling medicine in the market at 30% lowered rate,” he pointed out.
In 2010, the government asked the authorities of the 26 state-owned companies to off-load their shares into the stock market.