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Businesses alarmed at 25% quota rise in state-owned vessels' cargo carrying

  • Published at 10:12 pm January 28th, 2019
BSC-Ship
The bill states that at least 50%of the seaborne cargoes related to Bangladesh's foreign trade must be carried by Bangladesh Shipping Corporation flag vessels Bangladesh Shipping Corporation

The cabinet has approved the Bangladesh Flag Vessels (Protection) Bill 2019 and Bangladesh EPZ Labour Bill 2019

The cabinet has approved in principle the draft of the Bangladesh Flag Vessels (Protection) Bill 2019 with a provision stating that at least 50% instead of the existing 40% of the seaborne cargoes related to Bangladesh's foreign trade must be carried by Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) flag vessels.

The approval came at the cabinet meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office yesterday, reports UNB.

"As per Article 3 of the draft bill, at least 50% of the seaborne cargoes relating to the country's foreign trade will have to be carried by vessels of BSC," said Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam while briefing reporters at the secretariat.

He said the draft law was placed to the cabinet as the existing Bangladesh Flag Vessels (Protection) Ordinance 1982 was promulgated during a military regime, which was declared annulled by the Supreme Court.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chairs a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Dhaka, on Monday, January 28, 2019 PID

He said the bill was drafted in Bangla though the existing ordinance is in English.

As per the existing ordinance, at least 40% of the sea-borne cargoes relating to foreign trade of Bangladesh shall be carried by Bangladesh flag vessels, he said.

The articles 6 and 7 of the ordinance were abolished in the draft law.

According to the article 8 of the draft bill, if any vessel carries goods violating the provision of the proposed law, they will be fined a maximum Tk500,000. But there is no provision of pecuniary punishment in the existing ordinance, he said.

The cabinet also approved the draft of Bangladesh EPZ Labour Bill 2019 for making the Bangladesh EPZ Labour Ordinance 2019 promulgated on January 15, into the law as it is, he said.

The cabinet on December 3, 2018 had given approval in principle to the draft allowing trade union activities in Export Processing Zones (EPZs).

"There's no change in the draft bill," said the Cabinet Secretary.

The ordinance reduced minimum membership requirement to create a workers' welfare association to 20% in a factory in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ).

Earlier, 30% workers' consent was required to form a workers' welfare association.

As per the ordinance, if a worker wants to resign on completion of 25 years of service, he would get service benefit of 45 days for every working year instead of existing provision of 30 days.

The ordinance also authorizes the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments to inspect the EPZ factories alongside the BEPZA authority.

Noting that an annual report on the cabinet's decisions was placed at the meeting, Shafiul Alam said implementation rate of the cabinet decisions taken in 2018 is 86.26%.

He said a total of total 313 decisions were taken at 35 cabinet meetings held in 2018. Of these, 270 decisions have already been implemented.

A total of 193 laws were formulated in 2018, while 10 ordinances were promulgated.